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Will the Isle of Wight Become Tidal Energy Centre?

13 Mar 14:00 by Steve Walia

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A new report suggests that the Isle of Wight could become a key centre for wave energy, providing vital clean energy for the island's habitants and the UK mainland whilst supporting local economic development and providing valuable skilled jobs.

RenewableUK produced the Ocean Energy Report, which was released this week and calls on the government to incorporate wave and tidal energy into its energy strategy.

The report flagged up key developments in the sector, including the new commercial-size tidal stream development located to the south of the Isle of Wight by PTEC, along with the East Cowes Sustainable Marine Energy project - this has developed a range of cutting-edge platforms that can house different test tidal turbines, as well as a marine anchoring system which has already won awards.

RenewableUK has made clear the intrinsic value of marine energy to Britain's regional and national economic growth, offering a way to attract sizeable private investment, providing jobs and skills and cutting carbon emissions in the process. These multiple benefits will be achieved, it argues, if the government provides the proper mechanisms for support.

Hugh McNeal, the CEO of the lobby group, said that Britain was the world's leader in wave and tidal power, explaining that the emerging industry didn't only provide environmental benefits and energy security of supply but also more employment opportunities in the Isle of Wight and the Solent.

He called on the government to recognise how the technology's support could be used to transform coastal areas, allowing marine power to become a strategic industrial sector. For this to happen, RenewableUK has said, the government must include wave and tidal power in the new and much vaunted industrial strategy, enabling it to receive the support required for its full potential to be reached.