Looking out to 2030, the South West Marine Energy Park (SW MEP) partnership paper sets out the long term opportunities and ambitions for the development of marine energy in South West England.
According to the report, the deployment of demonstration arrays at Wave Hub will lead to the first commercial wave farms by 2025, and 300-500 MW by 2030 leading to 1-2 GW in the following decade.
The demonstration projects and smaller tidal stream arrays at the North Devon Demonstration Zone and sites in the Bristol Channel and off Portland could lead to 100-200 MW of capacity by 2030.
The report also predicts the construction of one or potentially two tidal range lagoons off Somerset by 2030, that could have the capacity up to 4 GW.
It is estimated that the marine energy sector in the South West currently employs over 450 people, but as the sector expands it is expected that the number of long term jobs directly associated with the industry will increase.
The report forecasts the employment rate to reach over 3000 permanent and long term jobs in the sector by 2030, plus a potential average of 1900 jobs (2018-2030) involved in the construction of major tidal lagoons and offshore wind projects.
Johnny Gowdy, director of Regen SW, said: “Clearly there is uncertainty about the rate of deployment for all new technologies but our intention is to present a positive but realistic assessment of what could be achieved in the next decade. This will hopefully help to secure further investment in the sector and to encourage national and regional decision makers to give marine energy their full backing.”
Peter Kydd, chair of the South West Marine Energy Park added: “The South West’s marine energy potential is significant both in terms of resource and supply chain capabilities. This important paper sets out the South West’s ambition, and its vision for the future on which we look forward to working pro-actively with our partners and stakeholders.”
SW MEP was designated as the UK’s first marine energy park in 2012, giving it priority focus for the development and deployment of marine energy technologies. The primary objective of the SW MEP is to accelerate the commercial development of marine energy in the South West of the UK and to enable the UK to grow and export technology and capabilities to the global industry.
Image: Wave Hub/Illustration; Charts: SW MEP Outlook and statement of ambition to 2030 report