The UK government today launched a £20m ($31.6m) wave energy scheme.
The project, Marine Energy Array Demonstrator (MEAD), will support two pre-commercial projects to showcase the operation of wave and/or tidal devices in an array formation.
Organisations across the UK will be able to bid for a share of the £20m kitty, with eligibility criteria including the ability to generate a minimum of 7 GWh per year and the use of at least three generating devices, previously demonstrated at full scale in sea conditions. Projects must be up and running by the end of March 2016.
Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “This scheme will take us one vital step closer to realising our ambitions of generating electricity from the waves and tides, powering homes and businesses across the whole of the UK with clean, green electricity.”
The MEAD funding is part of the government's £200m development fund for low carbon technologies and will run in parallel to a series of similar funding schemes for early stage marine energy projects operated by other agencies, such as the Technology Strategy Board and the Energy Technologies Institute.
It is also intended to complement proposed changes to the level of subsidy offered to marine energy projects through the Renewables Obligation scheme that are expected to result in higher levels of support across the UK for both wave and tidal energy projects.
The UK is one of the world leaders in marine energy research and development, with the European Marine Energy Centre located in Orkney.