Engineering and environmental businesses have been challenged to make East Anglia a “world leader” by seizing on the government’s desire to back tidal and wind energy.

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Ministers are encouraging firms to pitch their ideas of how to generate electricity from the power of waves and tides, with up to two projects sharing £20m.

But despite doubts about the North Sea off the Norfolk coast housing large-scale commercial projects in the near future, the region’s developing renewable energy industry is being backed to research and produce the technology required.

Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP, said tidal and wave power was a “huge opportunity” for the region, adding that the east of England could also meet the government’s demand to expand the UK’s energy sources.

He said: “It’s about energy security and the government is not just relying on one thing but looking at the expansion of nuclear, more from oil and gas, off-shore wind farms.

“For the eastern region it’s a huge opportunity. We can be world leaders and our businesses and people locally can build on that with jobs in that industry, even just researching it. Everybody thinks East Anglia is a sleepy, agricultural region. But if we look at the high-technology businesses in Norwich, software in Ipswich, medicine in Cambridge and energy in Great Yarmouth we are a forward-thinking, high-technology area and we need to remind the rest of the world what we are doing.”

The government’s £20m project is aiming to support pre-commercial projects which demonstrate how wave and/or tidal devices operate in “array formation” - rows or columns – over a period of time.

It is hoped marine power could provide up to 20pc of the UK’s current electricity demand, create thousands of jobs and help cut carbon emissions.

But the industry is still in its infancy.

The Crown Estate has identified areas off the UK coast for the technology to be used, including numerous sites near Scotland.

Marc Paish, chief technology officer at Sheffield-based Pulse Tidal, has been helping to develop tidal power technology since 1998, including raising money and securing grants for a demonstration machine in the Humber Estuary.

Mr Paish said it was estimated to cost between £5m and £7m to produce one megawatt (MW) of power with tidal or wave devices, with the government looking to back projects producing between 5MW and 10MW.

He said these developments were comparable to the state of the wind power industry 15 years ago, although they were expected to develop faster.

Mr Paish added companies were currently looking at putting devices in locations which would generate the most energy.

He said: “I think there’s an interesting area of current around the Norfolk coast where in the longer term you can imagine an array being feasible but I think it will take quite a while before developers take an interest.”

Mr Paish said once the technology developed and became cheaper to install, then it was likely more companies would take an interest.

He said: “There’s some resource there off the Norfolk coast but’s it’s not going to be developed in a hurry.”

Devices have been tested in the area, including Lowestoft-based 4Nrg’s Tidal Harvester 2. It is hoped this could one day be used in the North Sea.

Dr Andrew Boswell, Green Party spokesman for environment, transport and development at Norfolk County Council, said he hoped the newer government cash would have more success than the previous Labour administration’s £50m fund.

This project was criticised for being difficult to access.

Dr Boswell said: “We clearly need to move towards all sorts of renewable energy.”

David Krohn, wave & tidal development manager at industry lobbyists Renewable UK, said he welcomed the cash to “kick-start” the industry.

But he said: “It’s important to recognise that this is only the beginning of the road to building marine energy into a fully commercial industry.

“Our research shows that £120 million of capital support is required to overcome barriers to commercial development and unlock our share of this global industry.”

Bidding for government money closes on June 1 with the winners to be announced later in the year.

Greg Barker, energy and climate change minister, said the cash will help move marine power to the next stage of development and closer to achieving the ambition of powering homes and businesses with electricity generated from waves and tides.

16 comments

  • nrg Don't think Syria had too much in the way of oil BTW

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    windup

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • nrg Don't think Syria had too much in the way of oil BTW

    Report this comment

    windup

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth MP, said tidal and wave power was a “huge opportunity” for the region, adding that the east of England could also meet the government’s demand to expand the UK’s energy sources. Lets have a go at this then, First Ferry Service, then Containers, then Wind Turbines, then Decommissioning, NOW Wave and Tide. Lets face it Brandon you are a lot of “Hot Air” The outer harbour is no-where in the race for anything. Concentrate on ONE thing Brandon and lets get One thing to work instead of all these failures.

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    John L Cooper

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Many may disagree, but watch my words, unlike most I not only work in this industry, but, also, KNOW, what I'm talking about!!!! Unlike most, I actually work in this industry, if only on the fringes of it. I have been involved with 3 different tidal power companies and have yet to meet anyone who wasn't mentally ill. Lack of forethought, poorly (at best) thought out engineering, inability to accept that if you wish to install a device into an area of high tidal current, then you should consider the problems for those unwise enough to install it...... I could go on forever. In conjuction with the equally misguided and ill informed people re the Unity Wind wind turbine at North Walsham, we seem to be attracting all manner of (possibly) well minded people who simply don't know what they're talking about. Sizewell is 119GW, (1191Mega Watts) the tidal turbines being installed into the sound of Islay are 10Mw, we'd therefore need 119 tidal turbines to replace Sizewell, and there's not that many places in the UK with such a tidal stream needed to generate 10Mw. North Walsham isn't windy, the proposed 2.3Mw machine will generate circa 174Kw at the local wind average speed, year round. Take my advice, buy low energy light bulbs, reduce your electricity consumption and be prepared for long, dark, winter nights, or, build more nuclear, asap! NRG. I imagine you HAVE electricity today?

    Report this comment

    windup

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • All the renewable energy projects are incredibly successful - in extracting large subsidies from the taxpayer. All rely on 100% backup from gas generators and with little hope of meeting our real energy needs. There is no other example of expensive and unreliable intermitent power generation to match it.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

  • When did Joe Pasquale become MP? Sadly we have missed the boat and will, indeed have to prepare for "energy famine"...nuclear energy is the only truly effective and efficient way forward but successive Governements have chickened out and now we will have to depend on what the French can spare us in the future...so much for Waterloo!!!

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

  • Yet another technically illiterate and ignorant political caste wide-boy shouting his mouth off. He has obviously not read the reports from Spain, Denmark, Germany, Scotland and Colorado which catalogue how the Law of Unintended Consequences rules with respect to employment and economics. It means that renewables such as wind do not create the jobs portrayed by proponents and gullible politicians. The proponents are pushing a dead technology because they want the money from the subsidy bank which totally misguided politicians provide for them in lorry loads - our money from our electricity bills. Think about energy generation to realise the futility of chasing a Holy Grail of renewables which does not exist. If 1kg of moving air can generate 1 unit of electrical energy, it enforces 24-365 fossil fuel backup, 1kg of moving water can generate 1000 units but still enforces a level of backup from fossil fuels, 1kg of woodbiomass releases 30,000,000 units, 1 kg of coal, oil or shale gas releases 100,000,000 units and 1kg of nuclear fuel releases 100,000,000,000,000 units. So what would you put your money into as an entrepreneur to guarantee a secure electricity supply, remembering that the now private sector generation infrastructure relies on the value of share prices for the few and not what is best for society. And don't forget also that playing around with the tides and waves is playing around with the manifestations of our interactions with other planets in our solar system. Who knows what Law of Unintended Consequences will be brought to bear for mankind by that action?

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Once again, EDP moderator, what has happened to my comment I lodged on April 10? Have you an agenda?

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

  • The project for New American Century basically covered what was going to happen or what is happening now. The whole wind and sea turbines folly, is really a diversion and another bankers scam on the taxpayers of Britain....as for nuke industry, turmoil would best describe it, after the continuing melt down (through ??) of Fukushima

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • More rubbish from the MP's Bumper book of Bull**it, and even more delusional rantings from the green party.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Have to agree with the two fine previous comments. I would also like to educate the essex wide-boy on “It’s about energy security" I think the war on Iraq, together with our grab on Libya last year, has succeeded in the medium term. Syria and Iran next on the list...simples ..even for Essex folk.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • "Many may disagree, but watch my words, unlike most I not only work in this industry, but, also, KNOW, what I'm talking about!!!! "____ Dont worry sayitasitis. I have 27 years deepwater, subsea experience but that means nothing to these taxpayer funded jobsworths who like to think they know it all, but know naff all. They fail in one area and get put into another and think they know it all. Once the snout is deeply embedded in the taxpayer funded trough it has to be kept there.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

  • As we all know, to our cost, the officers, conservative members within county hall and district councils all do as they are told by the Leader of NCC. If he says jump they ask how high sir! I would bet that not one person in authority KNOWS anything of the engineering and technical pros and cons of this technology. What would have happened is that some convincing salesman from the industry has promised the world and no one would have the brain to question the slick money man. Brandon Lewis thinks Yarmouth Outer Harbour is wonderful, I may have agreed if it had been properly thought out and fit for purpose. I was looking forward to the passenger ferry thinking it a major step forward, but what happened? as with everything this County Council is involved with it failed, or rather just never happened!

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

  • Yep all juiced up and lights are brimming. I agree the commng years will be full of 'brown outs' Norfolk folk will be sacrificed in power terms, for keeping those unsavory areas of Blighty lit up.Two news items i've read today are rather intriguing and scary. First one, America posted it's biggest exports in coal for 20years today, the scary one is from the Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumura, regarding reactor no 4 and the end of the world as we know it.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Unlike most, I actually work in this industry, if only on the fringes of it. I have been involved with 3 different tidal power companies and have yet to meet anyone who wasn't mentally ill. Lack of forethought, poorly (at best) thought out engineering, inability to accept that if you wish to install a device into an area of high tidal current, then you should consider the problems for those unwise enough to install it...... I could go on forever. In conjuction with the equally misguided and ill informed people re the Unity Wind wind turbine at North Walsham, we seem to be attracting all manner of (possibly) well minded people who simply don't know what they're talking about. Sizewell is 119GW, (1191Mega Watts) the tidal turbines being installed into the sound of Islay are 10Mw, we'd therefore need 119 tidal turbines to replace Sizewell, and there's not that many places in the UK with such a tidal stream needed to generate 10Mw. North Walsham isn't windy, the proposed 2.3Mw machine will generate circa 174Kw at the local wind average speed, year round. Take my advice, buy low energy light bulbs, reduce your electricity consumption and be prepared for long, dark, winter nights, or, build more nuclear, asap!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

  • Sayasitis, double bubble or even treble bubble. Oil heavy and fine, shed loads of gas and strategically placed for networking pipe lines. Try googling Emerging Syria, Oxford Business group for the bigger picture.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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