Within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, we have already created partnerships and delivery mechanisms that can easily be adapted to fulfil the role required for our LEP.
You will have seen in the press the South West was named by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, as the UK's first Marine Energy Park.
This announcement comes in response to the minsters challenge to the South West marine energy industry in 2010; to turn itself and the region into a centre for the marine energy modelled on California's Silicon Valley. It also follows our successful push for goverment to provide the same incentives for marine energy in England as Scotland.
The launch of the South West Marine Energy Park (SWMEP) marks an exciting new phase in the development of the marine energy industry in the South West of England. Geographically the South West MEP will stretch from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly and will provide a focus for industry and investment in order to generate jobs and business opportunities for the South West economy as well as secure low carbon energy. Its main aim is to create a business environment that will foster business collaboration, support technology development and accelerate the commercial expansion of the marine energy sector and cement the UKs position at the centre of the emerging global industry.
A great deal of investment and effort has gone into marine energy in the south west and the prospectus set out the region's unique assets including the regions' excellent marine energy resources, research and techology testing centres, its ports and harbours, regional grid connectivity and its supply chain of world leading business which already employs some 300-500 people (you can find details of this here).
The South West MEP is made up of, and led by, a collaborative partnership which now consists of over 50 public and private sector organisations, including representatives from supply chain companies, technology developers, universities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities. Over the coming months this partnership will be working on the process of establishing a partnership steering board that will provide strategic leadership and represent the marine energy park and local industry at a national and international level. This partnership will help to set the strategic priorities for future investment and growth in marine renewables for the South West and will provide a strong voice for the industry and region within the national programme and policymaking areas.
In launching this new Marine Energy Park the minister, Greg Barker MP said:
"This is a real milestone for the marine industry and for the South West region in securing its place in renewables history as the first official marine energy park. The South West can build on its existing unique mix of renewable energy resource and home grown academic, technical and industrial expertise.
Marine Power has huge potential in the UK not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions, but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15bn to the economy to 2050.
The UK is already a world leader in wave and tidal power, so we should capitalise on this leadership to make marine power a real contender in the future energy market".
The work to develop the South West MEP has been undertaken by Regen SW in partnership with Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council. The South West MEP prospectus is also now available online at the Regen SW website, click here to view along with more information about offshore renewable energy in the region. The work has been led by our Programme Director Johnny Gowdy - if you want to know more he can be contacted at email@example.com.