Marine Energy Wales has welcomed the UK government’s commitment to renewable energy, especially offshore wind. These commitments include boosting targets for offshore wind capacity from 30GW to 40GW by 2030 as well as creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1 GW of energy by 2030.
Marine Energy Wales said it welcomed this new target for floating offshore wind, and as secretariat for the Celtic Sea Alliance look forward to working with UK Government, Welsh Government and Celtic partners to unlock the potential that the Celtic Sea offers. With up to 250 GW of wind resource and independent studies suggesting 50 GW of realistic capacity, the Celtic Sea will play a key role in delivering the new target.
The organisation also reminded the UK Government that the country is not only leading in offshore wind development, but in other green energy technologies such as wave, tidal stream and tidal range.
“As the Prime Minister stated “our seas hold immense potential” to produce green energy, however there are a number of sustainable and efficient ways we can harness this strength. The UK currently has a global leading role in marine energy such as wave, tidal stream and tidal range as well as floating offshore wind which we need to capitalise on. Having an energy mix provides the UK with energy security and helps to meet our ambitious carbon zero targets, therefore we call on UK Government to support the full range of marine energy generation on offer,” said Jess Hooper, MEW programme manager.
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said floating wind will play a major role in the UK’s future energy mix. He described it as “a hugely exciting opportunity and a dynamic area of growth which sits squarely and centrally in the government’s goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050”.
As part of the Build Back Greener Initiative, there is also a commitment to setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021.
Marine Energy Wales recently responded to the Government’s call for evidence on the potential of marine energy projects highlighting the importance of Contracts for Difference (CfD) to ensure that there’s a route to market for the commercialisation of innovative, emerging technologies and to develop a world-leading marine energy industry in Wales and the UK.
Marine Energy Wales proposed that the CfD should complement a proposed Innovation Power Purchase Agreement for early smaller projects and provide a mechanism that supports larger projects; enabling progression to deploying arrays of these technologies.
The organisation has also proposed that a consideration of a ‘minima’ within the pot for each of wave, tidal stream and FLOW technologies is needed to ensure that these nascent technologies do not have to compete with larger established technologies such as offshore wind. A CfD minima that extends across rounds through the 2020s will boost commercial confidence, attract private investment and secure local benefits.