UK: New Report on Economic Benefits of Marine Energy in Wales
A new report on marine energy in Wales estimates that if development is ramped up significantly over the next 20 years – with the capacity to generate 1GW of power – it could contribute a total of £840m to Welsh GVA during the development and installation stages.
Once operational this installed capacity would bring in an additional £20m GVA and support 440 FTE jobs across Wales each year.
The Economic Impact of the Development of Marine Energy in Wales report is the first detailed assessment of the potential economic benefits for Wales from wave and tidal stream energy generation but excludes tidal lagoons and barrages.
The report from Regeneris Consulting and the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff Business School, was commissioned by the Welsh Government and drew on consultations with device and project developers and industry experts.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:
“The Welsh Government is committed to capturing the marine resource in Wales and maximising the benefits from the development of the industry.
“We want to ensure Wales is at the forefront of the low carbon energy agenda and the role that marine energy can play is highlighted in the Welsh Government’s Energy Wales: a low carbon transition strategy. We are committed to unlocking the energy in our seas and this report illustrates the real benefits it could deliver across the Welsh economy as well as some of the challenges.”
There are currently a total of four pre-commercial (demonstration) projects proposed off the Pembrokeshire coast while Marine Current Turbines (MCT) Ltd aims to install its first full-scale tidal turbine array off the coast of Anglesey by 2016.
The Report examines the economic benefits for Wales from future development of the sector using three illustrative timeline scenarios and the generation capacity that could be available within 3/4 years, ten years and twenty years.
he projected figures take into account the impacts from direct employment and expenditure, indirect expenditure via supply chain goods and services sourced within Wales and induced personal expenditure effects.
The report recognises that marine energy represents a significant opportunity for Wales given the scale of wave and tidal stream resource in Wales and the existing capabilities of the Welsh business and Higher Education base.
However, it states the estimated economic benefits would be heavily dependent on continued capital and revenue support from Government and the ability of the industry to drive down costs through innovation.
It also introduces a note of caution stating that because the industry is in its infancy, there are a range of uncertainties on the economic impact its development may have for Wales. They are centred on the timing of development, the balance between wave and tidal, the rate at which costs fall over time, and the ability of the Welsh supply chain to benefit from the opportunities coming forward.
In addition to the economic impact evidence, the report provides guidance on the types of interventions that could be pursued in order to maximise the benefits of the development of marine energy.
Press release, August 26, 2013; Image: wales