Letter to UK energy minister on marine power

SGR letter to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, 6 May 2011

Rt Hon Chris Huhne, Secretary of State

Department of Energy & Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place


Dear Mr Huhne

SGR is very concerned about the lack of effective support by Government for the development of marine (wave and tidal) power in the UK. The latest report from the Carbon Trust, which we endorse, makes it clear that the UK is a world leader in this sector and where effective and practical government pump priming finance could generate considerable numbers of long term jobs. As you will know, the analysis issued this week by the Carbon Trust puts the potential share of this market at £76bn (22% of the global market) with 68,000 jobs by 2050 in the UK.

In so doing this sector could contribute around 20% of the UK's electricity demand by 2050 with a substantial de-carbonisation of the grid and concomitant contribution to the targets set out under the Climate Change Act.

There will also be a huge export opportunity to countries such as Chile, Korea, and the US as well as some in the EU.

We also note with concern that the marine renewable deployment fund has no funding following the spending review.

While we also note that while this fund was set up in a too complex way for the purpose it was designed to meet, the lack of government support in this crucial area will result in further lost opportunities to develop the UK economy towards a more sustainable direction.

What on the face of it looks like a government saving in the short term, will in fact in the longer term increase energy and infrastructure costs across the UK economy.

We strongly urge the government to redress what we believe to be a grave strategic error.

Yours sincerely

Dr Philip Webber, Chair

Catherine Macintosh MBE RIBA, Vice Chair

References and links:
Carbon Trust (2011). Marine Renewables Green Growth paper
The Guardian (2011). UK marine sector 'could be worth 76bn and support 68,000 jobs'