Ocean Power Industry Needs Big Bucks, UK Warned

Scotland has been vocal on its goal of 100 percent renewable power by 2020. A critical piece in the planned energy transformation, from the current 30 percent renewable energy, is harnessing the country’s ocean power in the form of tidal and wave energy devices. But for that to be more than fantasy, the industry might need a serious boost and quickly.

Accoding to a recently released report [PDF] by a renewable energy trade association, RenewableUK, the U.K. and Scottish governments will need to invest an additional £80 million ($128 million) for the growing ocean power industry to be viable. The two governments have so far invested less than £40 million in what, the report predicts, will be a £3.7 billion industry for the UK by 2020, with the potential of creating 10,000 jobs.

image via RenewableUK

Titled “Marine Energy in the U.K.,” the report emphasizes that government support will have the exponential effect of unlocking million in private investment as well.

“One step the Government could take is to allow the Green Investment Bank to support wave and tidal projects at an early stage. It’s frustrating that Ministers have not yet identified marine energy as a priority sector for the GIB,” David Krohn, RenewableUK’s wave and tidal development manager, said in a statement.

Report authors said the governments have been overly cautious in funding the industry, an approach that will stall development and drag the U.K. from its global lead in ocean power. Although the U.K. energy roadmap has set the target of  300 megawatts (MW) of ocean power by 2020, just 7.665 MW is installed. Instrumental to the growing industry has been the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) that already hosts various wave and tidal energy devices.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture www.layda.org.

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