Renewables offer £4bn boost to South West

The marine renewables sector will generate over 5750 new jobs and inject an estimated £4.8bn into the South West economy from 2015 onwards, according to a new report. The report, […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The marine renewables sector will generate over 5750 new jobs and inject an estimated £4.8bn into the South West economy from 2015 onwards, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by the South West Regional Development Agency, found that marine renewables will be vital to the economic future of the region.

A study in October showed that the South West is capable of generating 9220 MW of electricity from various marine sources, enough power for more than double the current domestic electricity needs of the whole of the region.

Once installation of the technology takes place, most of the work will be in ongoing operations and maintenance, with over 5000 people involved in this by 2030.

The £4.8bn boost to the economy would come mainly from offshore wind, but wave and tidal technologies would also make substantial contributions. This level of activity will require significant investment in the region.

Claire Gibson, director of sustainable resources at the South West RDA said: “The findings of the report highlight the significance of the marine renewables sector to the future of the region, not just through environmentally-friendly electricity production, but also to the future employment and economic growth of the South West.”

The potential of the renewables industry is attracting companies from other sectors. Supacat specialises in the design and development of high mobility, all terrain transport systems and hostile environment technology for military and civil customers.

It is based in Devon and employs over 100 people and now is looking to enter the renewables arena.

Managing director Nick Ames said that the recent report “confirms the South West has exciting potential for offshore renewables development over the next 20 years”.

“At Supacat, we have been actively examining how we use our hostile environment engineering skills in this industry over the last year. We are now working on a project to develop a device in the wave sector and looking at a solution for improving access to offshore wind turbines.”