Marine Renewables Deployment Fund

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 10:30 am, 22nd March 2007

I suspected that the hon. Gentleman would raise that point—and I am worried that there have been only two applications. The difficulty is that in order to qualify for the grant a project has to have been operating in the sea for three months. In other words, the idea was to help projects that had significantly proved themselves to be a real possibility for development. There are other grants around, however, to help with development at a far earlier stage. I am reluctant to reopen this matter, because it is important that we encourage projects that have a real chance of success. If it appears that no projects have reached that stage, however, perhaps we ought to look at some other form of assistance. The hon. Gentleman and I both agree that marine generation of electricity is important, and there are good examples of such work being carried out in his own constituency. The reason why this grant is difficult to get is that it sets quite high criteria for eligibility.