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Wave Hub

RDA sets new timetable for Wave Hub

The South West RDA has confirmed a new timetable for the installation of the Wave Hub off Cornwall's north coast as it continues to seek best value for money for the innovative project's design and development.

Installation of the Wave Hub, the first device of its kind on the shores of the UK to allow commercial exploitation of wave energy, is now planned for Spring 2010 - a year later than anticipated.

Nick Harrington, general manager for the Wave Hub project at the South West RDA, said: "We have reached the end of the tender process for the design and construction of Wave Hub and are disappointed that we have had to withhold the award of the contract. However, we were not content that the two tenders received following an advert in OJEU offered sufficient value for money. We had hoped to have the project in the water late next year but as a result of the disappointing response from the market and the long lead in time to design the equipment, we have now decided to push back its installation to Spring 2010.

"We will now use the additional time available to us to review the procurement process and the detailed design to establish the most cost effective way of delivering the project. We aim to complete this review within the next three months.

"Although we believe that there is room for savings, we are also conscious that the economic environment is quite challenging. The $100+ cost per barrel of oil has led to a boom in oil and gas exploration which has increased substantially the cost of the equipment needed to install Wave Hub. Volatile markets have also seen significant increases in the cost of copper which has increased the cost of the cable that will be laid between Wave Hub and the mainland.

"Nevertheless, we are still ahead of the game with Wave Hub. We secured the necessary consents for the project back in September - the first region in the UK to do so.

"We're also confident that we remain at the forefront of wave energy development on a worldwide basis, something recognised recently on the front page of the leading renewable energy industrial journal.

"In addition, our regular discussions with industry confirm that Wave Hub remains key to the successful commercialisation of wave energy devices in the UK, as well as contributing to our renewable energy targets and developing a low carbon economy. It could create 1,800 jobs and inject £560 million in the UK economy over 25 years. Almost 1,000 of these jobs and £332 million would be generated in the region. We remain committed to Wave Hub and will explore all the available options to realise these economic and environmental benefits."


Notes to editors

1. The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region's business potential It works in partnership with public, private and social purpose organisations to drive up the region's productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places, and promoting the strengths of the region. For more information see www.southwestrda.org.uk

£3m for bioheat projects

South West England secures £3 million for bioheat

The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) has been awarded £3 million to invest in a range of bioheat projects, putting the region at the forefront of this emerging renewable energy sector.

The investment, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is a direct result of the South West Bioheat Programme, which was launched last year with £650,000 funding from the RDA and £10,000 from the Forestry Commission.

Run by the South West's own renewable energy agency, Regen SW, the programme has been identifying and providing support to potential bioheat projects in the region, as well as setting up a supply chain to provide wood fuel and offering training courses relevant to the industry.

The South West Bioheat Programme has identified 30 potential projects for funding and Defra is releasing £3 million from its Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme to help make them a reality.

Together the projects could provide up to 32MW of renewable heat, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon a year by replacing oil fired heating systems with wood-fuelled systems. Locations include council offices, creameries and plant nurseries.

Jonny Boston, Energy Manager for the South West RDA, said: "This is a tremendous result for the region and represents a massive advancement in biomass technology in the South West. Developing alternative sources of energy both for electricity and for heating, of which bioheat is a key component, is vital in tackling climate change and promoting a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.

"That's why the RDA has been investing in the development of new renewable energy technologies including wave, tidal and biomass. Our initial investment in the South West Bioheat Programme put the region in pole positon to attract this government funding, and we're delighted that ministers have recognised that with today's announcement."

Matthew Spencer, chief executive of Regen SW, which is core-funded by the South West RDA, said: "Wood heating is coming of age, and we now have a range of bioheat projects that are, quite literally, oven-ready for investment. Defra's funding will allow some of the region's biggest heat users to make the switch from oil and gas to wood heating."

Defra's Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme was set up to support the installation of biomass-fuelled heat and combined heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors.

Among the 30 projects that Regen SW has identified for potential bioheat plants are the Met Office in Exeter and Dairy Crest's creamery at Davidstow in North Cornwall.


Notes to editors:
1. The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region's business potential It works in partnership with public and private sector organisations and takes a long term view. It aims to drive up the region's productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places and promoting the strengths of the region. For more information see www.southwestrda.org.uk

2. Biomass is the name given to organic material that is burned to produce heat and / or electricity. As long as this material is sourced sustainably the process is carbon neutral, making biomass an important form of renewable energy. The projects to be supported by this programme are predominantly wood-fuelled bioheat - ie biomass heating projects using wood as a fuel.

3. The core investment for the South West Bioheat Programme has come from the South West RDA as part of its strategy to support the development of renewable energy demonstration projects in the region, in particular wave, tidal, biomass, offshore wind and microgeneration.

4. The South West Bioheat Programme is being funded by a £650,000 investment from the South West RDA and £10,000 from the Forestry Commission. The programme aims to stimulate the bioheat industry in the South West through increasing the number of systems on the ground, supporting fuel suppliers and providing recognised training programmes across the region. For further information contact Anna Halcro-Johnston on 01392 494399 or visit www.regensw.co.uk/bioheat.

5. Regen SW, which receives its core funding from the South West RDA, is the renewable energy agency for South West England.

For more information contact:
Jason Clark
Deborah Clark & Associates

South West England Biomass Facts:

1. South West England currently has some 10MW of biomass heat installed. These figures will be revised when Regen SW releases its Annual Survey of Renewable Energy Projects in April 2008.

2. The region has the highest number of biomass boilers in England and has the second largest amount of woodland resources after the South East.

3. There are 30 South West biomass focused businesses working on projects from anaerobic digestion through to woodfuel (including the UK's two largest woodfuel technology installers).

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