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£1M Boost for Marine Renewables Research

Crown Estate Provides £1M Boost for Marine Renewables Research

The Crown Estate has agreed to fund new projects at three of the UK’s leading marine research institutions. The projects will inform its fast- growing renewable energy programme and help the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets. At least £1 million of funding is expected to be provided by The Crown Estate over the next three years.

The projects will be based at three research centres, which will form a new research network managed by The Crown Estate. The research centres are: the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, the Durham Energy Institute at the University of Durham and the Marine Energy Group at Swansea University.

The announcement builds on The Crown Estate’s established commitment to investing in research to support its business, enabling developers to realise the potential of offshore renewable technologies, and helping to remove the risks which could get in the way of development.

Research within the new network will be commissioned in areas across The Crown Estate’s diverse marine portfolio, and reports due in 2011 on projects which have already been commissioned, include:

  • The Scottish Oceans Institute: Research into the interaction of seals with offshore wind farms, and an examination of the potential impact of fishing no-take zones on seabed habitats.
  • The Durham Energy Institute: A project exploring the CO2 storage capacity of salt formations in the Southern North Sea.
  • The Swansea Marine Energy Group: A project examining the interaction of marine wildlife with tidal stream turbines.

Commenting on the news, Rob Hastings, director of the marine estate at The Crown Estate, said: “We are delighted to be working with these prestigious institutions, who are world leaders in their field. This announcement is another significant step for The Crown Estate, as we seek to enable the UK to meet is carbon reduction requirements. “Far-sighted decision making and long-term facilitation is required on our part, as we continue to work with partners to make the UK a global centre of excellence for low-carbon energies.”

Prof Ian Boyd of the Scottish Oceans Institute added: “This is an exciting development, which will help ensure that the best expertise is focussed upon furthering the aims of developing sustainable use of the oceans. Considerable amounts of industrial development will take place offshore over the next couple of decades. We need effective mechanisms to assess the relative costs and benefits of different approaches to managing our seas for economic growth.”

According to Dr Nick Croft, of the Marine Energy Group in Swansea University’s College of Engineering, “Understanding and quantifying the risks involved with installing and operating marine energy convertors is important if we want to avoid damage to our marine environment. The Crown Estate’s support will allow an extension of our existing research into the interactions between the environment and energy convertors.”

Prof Richard Davies, Director of Durham University’s Energy Institute said: “We are delighted to be part of the research network. We are modelling how saline rock formations hundreds of metres below the Southern North Sea would behave if we were to inject CO2 into them for long term storage. Our research into the geological storage of CO2 is a critical component of the UK’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) strategy.”

The Crown Estate’s Round 3 offshore wind programme, in which it has committed to invest in excess of £100 million, aims to deliver a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs by 2020. In addition, it is facilitating the world’s first commercial wave and tidal energy programme, located in the Pentland Firth, and it is working with stakeholders to facilitate the UK’s first geological stores beneath the seabed, as a crucial part of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects.

contact: Prof Ian Boyd

item 323
[03-12-2010 to 28-02-2011]

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