£20 million to be invested in Britain’s first wave and tidal projects
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has welcomed the decision by the Crown Estate to invest in wave and tidal projects in the UK as part of a strategy to support the emerging industry. A report last year found that there is the potential within the sector to develop tens of gigawatts of wave and tidal projects throughout the country and it is this that has primarily prompted the Crown Estate’s decision to invest.
“This is yet another very welcome intervention from The Crown Estate” said Dr Stephanie Merry, REA Head of Marine Renewables. “The early-stage risks and long payback periods for investment in wave and tidal energy can make it difficult for budding and innovative developers to attract finance for projects. Recent political uncertainty – not least over how the Energy Bill will be made to work for renewable energy – have only exacerbated the situation.
The estate will consider investing up to £20 million in two projects alongside investment from other companies and grant support from the government. The funding will go towards construction costs, each project involving multiple generation devices arranged in arrays. The total installed capacity is expected to be 3MW or greater but to be eligible for investment the projects must already possess a Crown Estate agreement for lease, have or soon obtain statutory consents and grid connection agreements and have a realistic expectation of being able to reach final decisions for capital investment by March 2014.
“Several wave and tidal stream technologies are now proven and it is timely for the industry to move on to demonstration projects” commented Rob Hastings, Director of the Energy and Infrastructure Portfolio for the Crown Estate. “First arrays are important because they are on the critical path to larger schemes around the UK and worldwide. By bringing our capital and expertise to bear, we hope to catalyse investments by others and to see projects proceed to construction and operation as soon as possible.”
The REA’s Dr Merry added that the association expects this decision to significantly boost the confidence of other potential investors.
The Crown Estate will be accepting applications to the fund until 15th February 2013.