Cornwall announces £2 million fund for marine renewables development

To further strengthen Cornwall’s position as a leading centre for marine energy, approximately £2m of Convergence European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been made available for marine renewables companies.

The GBI (R&D) fund is available to those currently working on concept or prototype development; as well as early stage demonstration or deployment of marine renewable devices. This funding can provide critical support to those seeking to deploy at FaB Test or Wave Hub over the next two years.

FaB Test is a non-grid connected nursery test site in Falmouth Bay off the south coast of Cornwall for the testing of components and devices. Wave Hub a grid-connected offshore marine energy test site, some 10 miles from the north coast of Cornwall built for testing full-scale wave energy arrays.

As well as testing infrastructure, Cornwall boasts world-leading academic research and expertise in marine energy and an extensive supply chain. It is also part of the South West Marine Energy Park which exists to accelerate the commercialisation of marine energy in the region. The GBI (R&D) fund has been created in response to the growing sector demand.

Claire Gibson, Wave Hub general manager, said: “The ability to secure sufficient funding remains a significant issue for the marine energy industry so this investment will be a welcome boost. The eligible activity ranges from feasibility studies right through to support with berthing fees so we hope it will act as a catalyst for device deployments at FaB Test and Wave Hub.”

Chris Pomfret, Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership concluded: “We know that financial support is critical at this stage of development. This fund will help developers bring forward their devices at a faster pace and prove their commercial viability. At a later stage in development it would be expected that private capital support for full exploitation will be forthcoming. We will be measuring the impact of the fund, and if proven successful, will be looking to create a similar scheme in the next round of European funding to help continue to support this dynamic sector.”

Grant funding may be used to support a wide range of costs related to the development and deployment of marine energy technology, including feasibility studies, product design, consenting, offshore surveys, fabrication, installation, berthing fees and operations and maintenance. Operating within the Grant for Business Investment (GBI) scheme, companies are able to apply for up to 45% match funding for this Research and Development activity.

The Grant for Business Investment (GBI) is financed by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Convergence European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.

Source: RegenSW, 22nd March 2013

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