The Business and Enterprise Minister yesterday announced a £1.5 million investment in the development of wave energy technology.
Mark Prisk said the additional £1.5 million grant from the South West Regional Development Agency would allow wave energy company Ocean Power Technologies Ltd (OPT) to develop a larger version of its ‘Powerbuoy’ wave energy device.
It follows an announcement by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board last week of a £7 million investment in nine projects aimed at developing wave and tidal technologies of the future.
OPT is the first company signed up to use Wave Hub, which is a £42 million project to create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology, off the north coast of Cornwall.
Mr Prisk said: “This ground-breaking Wave Hub project is evidence of British engineering and offshore expertise – almost 80% of the value of contracts awarded so far have gone to UK businesses.
“The UK is already leading the way in marine energy, with 25% of the world’s wave and tidal technologies being developed here. This is a huge opportunity for UK business – the sector could be worth £2bn by 2050 and it has the potential to create up to 16,000 jobs by 2040.”
During his visit the Minister was briefed by the RDA on the progress of Wave Hub, and plans to invest £15 million – including £5 million from central Government – in major infrastructure improvements around Hayle Harbour, to support the development of a new marine energy business park.The department for Business, Innovation and Skills says this could create up to 200 jobs.
Angus Norman, chief executive of OPT, said: “This award is a tremendous endorsement of OPT’s technology and more than six year’s research and manufacturing investment by the company in the UK. We share the Government and the RDA’s vision that the UK has a unique opportunity to leverage its geographic location and engineering expertise to harness wave power for abundant, safe and renewable energy. “