A report by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee has called for increased support of the marine energy industry, which it says will help the UK retain its leadership position within the sector.
As the current global leader in the industry, the UK has been urged not to get left behind by other thriving countries. By adopting a more imaginative and resourceful approach to push the sector forward, the UK can ensure that it stays ahead.
“Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy”, said Tim Yeo MP, chair of the committee.
“We are extremely well placed to lead the world in wave and tidal technologies, which could potentially bring significant benefits in manufacturing and jobs, as well as an abundant supply of reliable low-carbon electricity.
“A more visionary approach from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could help to boost confidence and drive the pace of development.”
The Select Committee’s report highlighted the abundance of marine energy potential available to the UK. It states that the industry could account for up to 20% of the country’s total energy demand.
Denmark surpassed the UK as the world leader in wind energy in the 1980s, a piece of history that should not be repeated for marine energy.
“In the eighties, the UK squandered the lead it had in wind power development and now Denmark has a large share of the worldwide market in turbine manufacturing”, Yeo added.
“It should be a priority for the Government to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of developments in this technology and does not allow our lead to slip.”
The industry has welcomed the Select Committee’s report. RenewableUK’s director of policy, Gordon Edge, said, “The marine energy industry is now on the threshold of commercial viability, and the committee’s report contains important recommendations which, if implemented, will help push it towards becoming a major part of our electricity generation system.
“In particular, we welcome the committee’s recognition that any failure to help the industry live up to its promise could lead to other countries stealing the UK’s current global lead.
“We can’t afford to have innovation and manufacturing in hi-tech industries go overseas.”
Stephanie Merry, head of marine at the Renewable Energy Association, echoed Edge’s sentiments.
“It’s great to see this important report acknowledging the enormous energy potential that surrounds our island nation”, she said.
“The report rightfully recognises the need to expand our skills base at the university level to unlock the huge potential for green jobs and growth in marine renewables.”
The overwhelming message emerging from the report is one of firm advice.
“The resource that the Government has put in to underpin our world lead has not been large, but the potential benefits are great”, the report concludes. “The UK needs a strong political vision to ensure that we can reap the rewards of a successful marine industry.”
We at Blue & Green Tomorrow think that to achieve a sustainable future, renewable power must form the backbone of the UK energy industry. Harnessing the natural resources around us is the wisest way forward.
As much as it is the Government’s task to drive renewable energy commercialisation, it is also down to individuals and the voice of the community. You can make a difference by switching to 100% renewable energy through Good Energy.