The Welsh marine energy sector saw a record GBP 103.4 million (USD 130.9m/EUR 119.6m) investment and spending over the last year, almost four times greater than in the previous year, according to Marine Energy Wales’ annual state of the sector report, launched this week.
The tidal stream segment accounted for GBP 45.1 million of this amount, while the supply chain contributed GBP 44.7 million and the floating offshore wind sector — GBP 11.6 million. Tidal stream and supply chain spending was driven by two key projects — Morlais Tidal Demonstration Zone in North Wales and the Pembroke Dock Marine project.
“Wales’ coastline has abundant wave and tidal resources offering huge potential for marine energy generation,” said economy minister Vaughan Gething. “Floating offshore wind is projected to produce GBP 1 billion in economic opportunities within the next five years and the Welsh government is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the sector can access the skilled workforce it needs,” the minister added.
During the year, Wales’ first floating offshore wind farm, Erebus, gained approval and Magallanes Renovables won UK government support to deploy its tidal stream technology to the Morlais demonstration zone.
“Revenue support for commercial-scale projects at a realistic market price is critical. The recent decision to reduce the tidal stream ringfence is deeply concerning, jeopardising megawatt-scale tidal deployment in Wales and the UK,” Marine Energy Wales programme manager Tom Hill said. “Despite having the world’s largest pre-consented demonstration zone in North Wales, market mechanisms and the loss of access to European funding schemes pose challenges to this innovative sector,” he added.
(GBP 1 = USD 1.266/EUR 1.157)