Marine Energy Wales has submitted an environmental scoping report to Natural Resources Wales for their opinion for the Marine Energy Test Area project. The scheme, located in and around the Milford Haven Waterway, will become a test-bed for trialing innovative marine renewable schemes for future commercial use.
The project will provide technology firms with a pre-consented, non-grid connected area in which to test their component, sub-assembly and marine energy devices. The scoping report takes into account a wide variety of potential technology and asks what environmental surveys are needed for the environmental impact assessment.
Operations manager for META Joseph Kidd said: "This is a significant step forward for META and marine energy in Wales. META will fill the gap for early stage marine energy testing in the UK and combined with the £76m Pembroke Dock Marine Project, will place Pembrokeshire and Wales on the main stage for this emerging global market. With ongoing support, marine energy could play an important role in delivering on a clean industrial strategy for Wales.
Site selection and feasibility studies for the £1.9m project have been ongoing since 2017 and it is hoped META could be open for business as early as next year.
The announcement follows comments from the Welsh Government’s finance secretary Mark Drakeford setting out Wales’ ambitions to become a world leader in marine energy.
"Our aim is to generate 70% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030," said Drakeford. "The marine energy sector can play a significant role in helping Wales achieve this target and will be closely aligned with Wales' First National Marine Plan.
"Over the last 18 months, the EU and Welsh Government has invested in a number of marine energy projects, including Morlais Consent, the Marine Energy Test Area in Pembrokeshire, Bombora Wavepower and Marine Power Systems, as well as ongoing support for Marine Energy Wales."