DEFRA Minister supports the launch of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Marine Renewable Roadmap
Today (Friday 22nd May) sees the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (C&IoS LEP), Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly jointly launch their Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) Roadmap, which sets out how the public and private sector can work together to deliver the next steps towards the commercialisation of offshore and marine energy generation solutions and supporting technologies over the next 10 years.
The Roadmap clearly outlines Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s ambitions to achieve commercialisation by 2025, through investing in three key development themes:
1) Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) - supporting industry led R&D with local Universities and HE Colleges;
2) Demonstration and pre-commercialisation – encourage pre commercial array scale and ‘seed’ the development of ‘commercial scale’ projects (including investment in enabling infrastructure);
3) Commercialisation and market development – identifying suitable funding mechanisms to de-risk private sector investment.
The Roadmap also outlines a commitment to growing Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s Green and Marine Sector by supporting the creation of a minimum of 100 new businesses and 700 high-value jobs. The region will further contribute to an increase in renewable energy production, which will support the UK in meeting and exceeding the national 15% generation target.
To support these three key stages of development, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly LEP will also be facilitating investment in sector development and skills development over the coming years. The region will also increase engagement with key marine related organisations and work with the sector to shape EU funding.
MRE development in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is a long term investment and the Roadmap sets out the need to build on the existing £100 million invested. Underlying this ambition for growth the EU Structural and Investment Fund (EUSIF) seeks to consolidate the previous investments made to support this sector with the potential for a further £30 - £40m worth of investment funding. The roadmap acknowledges the importance of working closely with our Regional and Celtic partners in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to address common challenges and maximise opportunities.
In 2014 The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s (OREC) announced the need for £200 million investment to drive the UK wave industry along a path to commercial readiness. To date, Scotland has announced £16 million in funding towards MRE and Wales has announced commitment of £80 million investment.
George Eustice MP, Minister of State for DEFRA commented:
“It’s really encouraging to see that Cornwall Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and LEP have come to together to produce a document that clearly lays out its ambitions in this emerging sector. I have long been a supporter of the marine renewables industry in the region and will continue to be championing the role marine renewables has to play in the renewables mix as we seek to drive growth in the UK’s renewable sector.”
Councillor Julian German, Cornwall Council, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture, said: “Today’s roadmap launch is about us articulating to the industry, where we believe we can help unlock current barriers that exist in the sector, whether you are at early stage development, open water testing or seeking to reach the next steps towards commercialisation.
“The UK should see the MRE sector as an industry that benefits from collaboration rather than individual market places. Cornwall, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland all have unique offerings, which if combined make the UK a true world leader and innovator in this emerging industry. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a significant role to play in helping to support the sector’s growth”
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a wide breadth of natural resources key to the development of wave energy. With facilities like FaBTest and WaveHub, the region is able to offer developers the infrastructure and critical support through its Higher Education partners and mature supply chain, to enable them to reach their goal of producing a commercial technology. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is home to many MRE businesses already possessing industry specific skills in the key stages of the industry lifecycle including planning and project management, R&D, design and manufacture.
Chris Pomfret, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are blessed with some of the best wave and offshore wind resources in the UK. So investing in marine renewables energy to secure our low carbon future not only makes long term economic sense, but will help to secure the continued growth of this sector.
“Our aim is to smooth the path to commercialisation for marine renewable energy developers and ensure that we maintain a significant competitive advantage in a sector that has enormous potential for our region.”
Councillor Richard McCarthy, Council of the Isles of Scilly explained:
“We are very much in favour of the roadmap and encouraging the marine renewable sector locally. It fits in well with our own long term ambition to create a low carbon economy on the Isles of Scilly. We believe the islands provide an ideal location for developers to trial and develop and ultimately we trust to make a commercial success of their technologies”.
The roadmap has been signed by representatives from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Cornwall Council, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and South West Marine Energy Park (SWMEP).