South West industry welcomes new demonstration zones for marine energy technology

Regen SW welcomes today’s announcement by The Crown Estate that a number of new demonstration zones for the deployment of wave and tidal energy projects have been designated around the south west coast.

The demonstration zones will further strengthen the region’s position as a leading centre for marine renewable energy by providing larger sites for technology demonstration and energy projects of up to 30MW in size.

The new south west demonstration zones are for tidal energy off the coast of North Devon and for wave energy off North Cornwall. In addition a new demonstration zone for wave energy has been identified off the South Wales coast of Pembrokeshire. Significantly all three demonstration zones will be managed by Wave Hub Ltd, the current managers of the Wave Hub site off Cornwall.

In addition to the demonstration zones, five new wave and tidal project leases have also been granted for marine renewable energy projects across the UK including a lease to the south east of Portland Bill, Dorset, for Bristol based tidal developer company Siemens MCT.

Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW says: “The demonstration zones are an important addition to the assets and facilities that we have within the South West Marine Energy Park. It’s a big step forward for tidal energy with a demonstration zone in the Bristol Channel off Lynmouth and a new project lease for MCT Siemens at Portland. It is also great to see that Wave Hub has been awarded the lease management and is expanding its scope, particularly following the recent news regarding the first deployment of a wave energy device at the site.”

It will take some time before projects will be deployed at these sites and any project developer will have to go through the normal planning processes. As an initial step Wave Hub will be working closely with local partners in both England and Wales to assess the site potential and to attract industry investors.

Stuart Herbert, commercial director at Wave Hub says “Wave Hub has extensive knowledge and expertise relating to the management of offshore renewable energy test sites, through all stages of development - from feasibility study to infrastructure installation and operation. We are delighted to have the opportunity to combine many years of practical offshore test site development and management expertise with the specific local knowledge and established stakeholder network developed by our partners. The formation of this experienced partnership will ensure the opportunity to maximise marine energy development in the region is fully exploited."

The announcement of the demonstration zones follows the signing last week of a collaboration agreement between the South West Marine Energy Park and Marine Energy Pembrokeshire.

Johnny Gowdy continues: “The Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea has the potential to become a major centre for marine energy projects bringing clean energy and economic benefits to both Wales and south west England.  We are looking forward to working with our colleagues in Pembrokeshire to exploit this opportunity and further strengthen the ties between the south west of England and Wales.”