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Renewable Energy

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) funding and (b) grant programmes are available for research into the use of tidal power; and if he will make a statement. (111265)

The Government have in place a number of initiatives that support tidal power.

Since 2000 around £20 million has been committed to support research and development of tidal-stream energy technologies under the DTI Technology Programme, and a further £50 million has been made available under the DTI’s Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to support the first larger-scale pre-commercial grid- connected wave and tidal-stream demonstration projects.

The Research Council's Supergen Marine Energy Research Consortium has, since 2003, conducted a £2.6 million research project into marine renewable energy including tidal energy.

The Government's main mechanism for supporting renewable energy is the renewables obligation (RO). The RO is a market-based mechanism, which requires electricity suppliers to source an increasing percentage of their electricity sales from eligible sources of renewable energy providing a substantial market incentive for renewable energy, including tidal power. The Government recently announced, in the Energy Review Report, their intention to consider “banding” the RO, so as to give more support to emerging energy technologies including tidal power.

It also announced that the DTI, together with the Welsh Assembly Government, are working with the Sustainable Development Commission, the South West Regional Development Agency and other key interested parties to explore the issues arising on the tidal resource in the UK, including the Severn estuary, including potential costs and benefits of development using a range of tidal technologies and their public acceptability. The study is due to report in June 2007.

The above does not include support for research made available from the devolved administrations, regional development agencies or the European Commission.