The Channel Islands and the South West of England have signed an agreement to work together in the development of marine renewable energy projects.
Representatives from the South West Marine Energy Park (SWMEP) and the Channel Islands Marine Energy Group (CIMREG) met in London at the International Tidal Energy Summit last week and yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
The MoU recognises the compatibility of the two regions on this important new opportunity for economic growth and low carbon energy security and establishes a partnership which brings together world class energy resources and organisations with academic, technical and industrial expertise in marine renewable energy.
The agreement outlines a commitment to work together for the benefit of the marine renewable energy sector across the South West of the UK and the Channel Islands, sharing information and working together to support joint initiatives that will increase the amount of installed megawatts of technology and create new jobs. Through collaborative research and development CIMREG and SWMEP will look to support the development of renewable energy projects in each other’s waters.
The agreement was signed by Peter Kydd (Director of strategic consulting at Parsons Brinckerhoff and the chair of the SWMEP) and by a representative of each island, the Planning and Environment Minister Deputy Rob Duhamel; Deputy Al Brouard, Guernsey’s Deputy Minister for Commerce and Employment; Francis Simonet, chair of Alderney’s Policy Committee and Conseiller Andrew Bache, from Sark’s General Purposes and Advisory Committee.
Deputy Brouard said: “This is a good opportunity to forge long term links with the industry in the UK that will allow us to be in a position to move with the industry and longer term, make the most of the natural resources we have at our disposal in the Channel Islands.”
Francis Simonet said: “Alderney is pleased to be party to this agreement which can only help in our quest to ensure that the energy in our waters is capable of being delivered into the UK. We have worked hard to ensure an all islands approach and this is a significant step which demonstrates our commitment to working together.”
Deputy Duhamel said: “I am delighted to be able to work alongside the other Channel Islands and our colleagues in the South West on renewable energy. There is no doubt that in the future the right project could bring significant environmental and economic benefits to the whole region and it is essential that we all work together to ensure that we achieve the best possible outcome in the long term.”
Building on an existing relationship and joint work undertaken by the two regions, the first step under this new MOU will be to meet at the next Bristol Tidal Energy Forum in March 2014, a key, industry led event in the SWMEP calendar. CIMREG will bring a delegation to the conference and will be invited to present to over a hundred key organisations in the South West marine energy sector.
Roger Olsen, Sark Renewables Advisor said: “We are happy to share information and look forward to playing our small part in helping marine renewables forward.”
The Channel Islands Renewable Energy Group (CIMREG) was formed in 2012 under a Joint Statement of Intent between the governments of the Channel Islands (Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and Sark) whereby the islands agreed to collaborate on representing and promoting their joint interests in marine renewable energy and to externally promote the joint interest of the islands in marine renewables.
The South West England Marine Energy Park (SWMEP) was established by the UK Government in 2012, in order to support and accelerate the commercial development of the marine energy sector in the UK. The Marine Energy Park (MEP) designation recognises the significant natural and business resources, as well as the very close working partnership that has been established between industry, technology developers, academia and the public sector in the South West.
In response to a successful joint workshop with the Channel Island community in Guernsey on 21 March 2013 Johnny Gowdy, Programme Director at Regen SW, said: “We see a great synergy in working closely with the Channel Islands. As well as the research being conducted by Exeter and Plymouth Universities to help the Channel Islands develop their tremendous marine energy resources, there are opportunities for south west companies to provide expertise and technology to deliver future energy projects.
“In exchange, and as a major centre for financial services, we anticipate that the Channel Islands can provide financial services and access to investment which will be essential to accelerate the commercialisation of the marine energy sector. The partnership also provides a strong platform from which to engage with the growing marine renewable energy sector in France including port development and highly energetic tidal resource along the North coast of France.”