The UK's two Marine Energy Parks (MEP) have signed a milestone agreement to work together to support the development of the wave and tidal industry in the country.
The collaboration agreement, signed at the Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Conference in London, was witnessed by Greg Barker, MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.
The South West Marine Energy Park in south west England, and The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park, in the North of Scotland, were designated as the UK’s first marine energy parks in 2012, in recognition of the significant natural and business resources, and the close working partnerships established between industry, technology developers, academia and the public sector in the two regions.
While each Park will provide a focus for investment and industrial growth within its own geographic area, this agreement provides a basis for the two MEPs to work together to build relationships, address common issues affecting the industry and to encourage business and research collaboration. It will also provide a means to exchange knowledge and best practice to ensure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of the global marine energy industry.
“I am proud that Scotland is leading the way in marine energy and the Scottish Government will continue to promote Scotland as the place for wave and tidal investment and development," said Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism. "The MoU between the marine energy parks ensures a more coherent and strategic approach in developing the marine renewables industry. It will also provide us with greater leverage in Europe which will help create a positive business environment to attract investment and generate jobs for both Orkney and the surrounding area and in the South West from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly."
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker added: "[The] agreement between the South West and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Parks is a real boost for our marine energy industry.
“We already leading the way globally on marine power, thanks to our world-class natural resource and outstanding technical know-how. Marine Energy Parks, aimed at sharing expertise and knowledge on the ground, are a vital part of the Coalition Government’s vision to keep up this momentum.
“This Memorandum of Understanding will help encourage further investment, accelerate the move to commercialisation and ensure marine energy reaches its potential in our future energy mix.
“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."