To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of (a) the potential to derive energy from ocean swell and (b) designs which are capable of capturing energy from very large ocean swell; and if he will make a statement.
The Carbon Trust has estimated that the total resource for, wave and tidal stream/range generation in the UK is around 43 GW. They have estimated that, ultimately, around 15-20 per cent. of the UK's current electricity demand could be supplied by wave and tidal stream technologies. Of this, 10-15 per cent. could be from ocean swell (i.e. wave) energy.
There are a wide range of devices being developed to generate electricity from ocean waves but none has yet progressed to a stage where they are ready for deployment at a commercial scale. The Government have provided support for research and development into wave energy to meet the needs of innovation at all stages of technology readiness. This includes funding through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council "SuperGen" programme, the Technology Strategy Board, the new Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and the Carbon Trust. The ETI's first call for expressions of interest, launched in December 2007, included proposals for research into wave and tidal energy.
In addition, BERR has £42 million funding available under the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to support the commercial demonstration of full scale wave and tidal energy devices. When they are deployed, they will be supported by the renewables obligation, under which they will receive an enhanced level of support.
Government support for wave and tidal energy technologies will be reviewed as part of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation which is due to be published in the summer.