Marine energy parks sign pact to boost jobs
The South West of England and the North of Scotland have signed a pact to work together to boost jobs in the growing marine power industry.
The Government last year granted both regions Marine Energy Park status, making the areas the sector's two investment focal points in the UK.
Bosses of the South West Marine Energy Park and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding in London to support the development of the wave and tidal renewable power industry.
The South West park is spread across sites in Devon, Cornwall and Bristol. Forecasts suggest there could be 5,000 jobs in the sector in the region by 2017.
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The industry is potentially huge. The Renewable UK industry group estimates wave and tidal energy could be worth £6.1 billion to the UK by 2035, creating nearly 20,000 jobs – up from today's 1,000.
Energy Minister Greg Barker, who witnessed the signing, said: "From southern England to northern Scotland, I'm struck by the fact these two parks lie at opposite ends of Great Britain. This agreement symbolises the strength of the UK working together as one."
Peter Kydd, chairman of the South West Marine Energy Park, said: "There are already very strong relationships between companies and research facilities in the two regions, it makes sense therefore that the UK's first two marine energy parks should be working together to promote and accelerate the commercial development of marine energy technologies."
Claire Gibson, general manager of Wave Hub, off the coast of Cornwall, the world's largest grid-connected wave energy test site, said: "This agreement sends a clear and positive message to the industry that the UK is serious about accelerating commercial development of the marine energy sector."
Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW, which champions green power in the region, said: "There is a huge amount that the South West can learn from the experience that our Scottish cousins have had in the marine energy sector. Already several South West-based companies are working up in Orkney and at the European Marine Energy Centre; we want to see this exchange continue and look forward to welcoming Scottish companies who we hope will come down to work on energy projects off the South West coast in the very near future."