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01 May 2009 02:05:03

Marine energy feasibility study to look at England and Wales

Marine energy feasibility study to look at England and Wales
Waters around England and Wales are to be analysed for their potential to harbour marine energy equipment, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced.

Speaking at the British Wind Energy Agency's sixth annual wave and tidal conference in Bath yesterday (April 30th), energy innovation minister Lord Hunt said that the new study will highlight prospects for the nascent marine power generation market.

"The marine energy sector has reached a pivotal stage with more and more devices ready to go into the water," he told those in attendance.

Due to build on information collected by other studies, such as the Welsh Marine Energy Strategic Plan, the "scoping exercise" will seek to establish a realistic timeframe for the installation of marine devices.

The study is also intended to help policymakers decide if a full Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) for marine energy devices in England and Wales will be required.

SEAs are used by the European Union to ensure that the environmental effects of national policies and programmes are identified, assessed and communicated to decision makers in member states.

Lord Hunt said: "The screening exercise in English and Welsh waters is a significant step forward in our plans to harness the power of our seas and secure a renewable and low carbon energy supply."

He noted that it will not look at the Severn Estuary because an SEA is already underway in the area to assess the costs and benefits associated with a range of tidal power projects.



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