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UK government to support first marine energy arrays with GBP 10m investment

Competition launched to exploit future marine technology and support deployment of UK’s first series of wave and tidal energy arrays

The competition aims to lead to more energy-efficient wave and tidal technology
The competition will lead to the development of more energy-efficient wave and tidal technology

The UK government has launched a GBP 10m competition to find energy-efficient technology that will support the marine industry’s first full scale energy arrays. Marine Energy – Supporting Array Technologies is a competition for collaborative research and development funding that will support the applied research, experimental development and demonstration of innovative technologies, which solve common issues faced when developing and deploying marine energy arrays.

The government is to invest over GBP 10m in research and development to support the successful deployment and operation of the UK’s first series of wave and tidal energy arrays. It aims to demonstrate that marine energy can be generated at scale, and with lower energy production costs.

The competition will seek proposals for research and development projects that address themes such as: tidal array cabling; subsea electrical hubs; installation and maintenance vessels for tidal arrays; navigation and collision avoidance and anti-fouling & corrosion. The results of the competition are expected to help UK businesses to build sustainable economic growth by exploiting new innovative technologies in a growing market and by removing barriers to successful array deployment.

The TSB said: “The marine energy industry is at a critical stage as it moves from single device prototypes towards first arrays of full-scale devices. The industry needs to demonstrate that energy from wave and tidal power can successfully be generated at scale and to reduce the cost of the energy produced. As the industry plans arrays for the first time, new technical barriers are emerging that are common across the industry.

“Through this competition, we are encouraging innovation that can address these key common challenges. This will de-risk deployment of early arrays by removing technical barriers and reducing the cost of energy produced,” the TSB said. “The results of this competition are expected to help UK businesses to build sustainable economic growth by exploiting new innovative technologies in a growing market and by removing barriers to successful array deployment.”

The funding for the competition is from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Scottish Enterprise and the Natural Environment Research Council. It will support the successful deployment and operation of the first series of wave and tidal arrays, while complementing other public funding initiatives in the marine sector. This includes the Department for Energy and Climate Change's Marine Energy Array Deployment capital grant scheme, the Energy Technologies Institute’s (ETI) wave and tidal energy system demonstrator programmes and the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize.

The TSB will invest up to GBP 6.5m in the research and development projects, while Scottish Enterprise will invest up to GBP 3m and NERC up to GBP 1m.

The competition opens on 5 March 2012 and a briefing event to provide more information to prospective applicants will be held in London on 14 March 2012. The deadline for registration is 10 April 2012 and expressions of interest must be submitted by 17 April 2012. For further information please visit: Marine Energy SAT.