U.K. government to invest up to £10.5M in collaborative R&D to support deployment, operation of wave and tidal energy arrays

LONDON , January 12, 2012 (press release) – The Technology Strategy Board, Scottish Enterprise and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) are to invest up to £10.5m in collaborative research and development to support successful deployment and operation of the first series of wave and tidal energy arrays.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £6.5m, Scottish Enterprise up to £3m and NERC up to £1m.

The marine energy industry (by which we mean wave and tidal stream energy) 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 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 competition also aims to facilitate industry joint working in defining and developing the best solutions using expertise from across the supply chain (including parallel sectors), and in disseminating learning and progress from projects.

Proposals must be collaborative and business-led. The competition opens on 5 March 2012. The deadline for registration is at noon on 10 April 2012 and the deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 17 April 2012. Successful projects will generally attract up to 50% public funding. We expect to invest between £500k and £1.5m per project, although projects outside these ranges may be considered.

A briefing event for potential applicants will be held in London on 14 March 2012 and consortia-building events will be held ahead of the competition opening.

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