This Department, on the advice of the Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power, has set up a research programme to examine the feasibility of large-scale extraction of sea wave energy. Details of this programme were given to the House on 29th April this year. The work is being directed by the Wave Energy Steering Committee which reports to our Chief Scientist.
Four particular types of device have been chosen for study, each depending on a different mode of operation. These are now at different stages of development, but it is expected that at the end of about two years sufficient information will be available to allow a decision on whether or not to proceed to larger-scale models and eventually prototype work.
I know that there is a certain amount of hilarity about this in the House, but the amount of energy in the seas around the United Kingdom is in the range of two to four times the present-day output of electricity. It is difficult to predict the development rate at which we shall be able to exploit wave energy, but the figure of about 4,000 mW electrical equivalent by the end of the century has been judged by scientists as a reasonable forecast, so I think that the hilarity should be restrained.
There is a tide in the affairs of men—. As the Science Research Council, Harwell and other notable institutions are examining this matter very seriously, and as the Government have great energy, something will be done.