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Marine Energy Sector Support

Volume 746: debated on Wednesday 6 March 2024

8. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of support for the marine energy sector in Scotland. [R] (901753)

The Government are firmly committed to supporting Scotland’s marine energy sector to grow. Around 80% of tidal stream contracts awarded through contracts for difference in the last two rounds will be deployed in Scotland. In addition, Horizon Europe selected two Scottish-based UK tidal stream developers to deliver projects in Orkney. They will lead construction on two £17 million projects, funded by the UK Government’s financial guarantee.

The Minister knows that successive Energy Ministers have hugely helped the development of the marine energy sector in Scotland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Does my hon. Friend agree that there is an opportunity in the next round of the renewables auction to allow for wave technologies alongside tidal stream technologies? Will he encourage the Scottish Government to speed up approvals of sites to get great green energy projects started as soon as possible in Scotland, as elsewhere?

I am grateful for that important question. The Government are undertaking analysis of the technology pipeline available for contracts for difference auction round 6 against our legal obligation to ensure that the auction round is competitive. We are considering the appropriate parameters for all technologies, including tidal stream and wave energy. The final parameters will be published in the budget notice this month, ahead of the auction round opening.

The Seastar tidal farm off the coast of Orkney is set to be the largest tidal energy farm anywhere in the world, and it was supported by EU funding through the European Marine Energy Centre. This comes after Edinburgh University’s report found that the UK Government could save hundreds of millions of pounds by bringing forward the development of tidal by years, if it worked more closely with its EU partners. It is clear that the EU’s role in this in Europe and around Scotland is very important, so if Scotland is better together with anyone, is it not better together with the EU and its investment in tidal?

What a load of nonsense. Scotland is much better served by being part of the United Kingdom, and we will continue to support all renewable energy sectors, including tidal.