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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester MP urges government to turn the tide on wave power

Nearly 100 members of parliament have signed a letter written by Gloucester's MP Richard Graham urging the Government to capitalise on its role as a world leader in wave and tidal power.

Mr Graham has written to energy minister Claire Perry, urging her to take advantage of the fact that the world's first tidal arrays are operating in UK waters.

Gloucester is home to Tidal Lagoon Ltd, who were involved in the planning for the Swansea and Cardiff tidal lagoons which have since been shelved by the government.

Costs of building arrays are set to plummet as the industry scales up and it is estimated that the UK's tidal stream industry could bring in £1.4billion by 2030 and support 4,000 jobs.

Mr Graham chairs the all-party parliamentary group on marine energy and tidal lagoons and is encouraging the government to include new policies to support wave and tidal stream technology in its upcoming Energy White Paper.

The support is needed because the current financial support mechanism, auctions for Contracts for Difference - will not bring forward marine renewables as they are early in their development, compared to other technologies such as offshore wind.

Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs who signed the letter suggest reforming the CfD system to so that marine technologies compete among themselves for Government-backed power contracts.

The MPs also warn that the UK faces increasing competition from Canada, the USA and China for investment and expertise.

However, with the right support, the UK is in a position to lead the global market which could grow to £76 billion by 2050.

Richard Graham MP, said "Marine energy is an innovative, world-class industry in which the UK is a global leader.

"We have an unparalleled resource with 50 per cent of Europe's tidal energy and 35 per cent of its wave energy.

"It is time to grasp the opportunity in front of us, as the Government has with offshore wind.

"Right now people are clamouring for more action on climate change. Marine energy provides a perfect opportunity for the Government to show that it is listening.

"To ensure the industry keeps growing, marine energy needs a route to market.

"The right kind of support will enable firms to take investment decisions which will ensure we retain our advantage - otherwise it will slip away to international competitors.

"We need to secure the UK's pole position as a leading exporter of marine technology around the world, capturing the lion's share of the global market."

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