asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimate he makes of the proportion of United Kingdom electricity requirements which could be met from the conversion of energy from sea waves.
The eventual estimate of exploitation will depend on the success of the national research and development programme and the relative economics of wave energy.
Is not the potential from wave energy very much larger than the potential from other sources of renewable energy, such as tide energy? As this could reduce our dependence nationally upon oil, coal and nuclear energy, how soon can energy from waves be produced, and can the Minister say what the cost would be?
On the last two parts of the question, I am afraid that I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman how soon, because this is experimental. With regard to cost, so far as we know it will certainly be expensive, but as we are still in the experimental period that may not in itself be the decisive factor. With regard to the first part of the question, wave energy certainly looks like a good bet compared with alternative sources of energy, although they are all important. We are still carrying on our studies, and we hope to report to the House as progress is made.
As regards tidal energy, is it not time that we had a reappraisal of the Severn Barrage scheme, particularly its viability in the 1990s, when oil resources will be reduced?
I could not agree more with my hon. Friend that we should look at aspects of tidal energy. My right hon. Friend is considering the matter urgently and will make a statement to the House about it.