Marine energy company Minesto has been awarded a 13 million Euros investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
The funding is part of the commercial roll out, including the establishment of Minesto UK Headquarters in North Wales and commissioning of the first commercial Deep Green power plant.
The EU funds will support a marine energy project in Holyhead Wales aiming to support an expansion of marine energy in Wales and UK.
Minesto will install the first commercial scale 0.5MW power plant in Holyhead Deep and continue with additional deployments in what will eventually be an array with a total capacity of 10MW, expected to be operational in 2019. The 10MW array will supply electricity to the equivalent of 8,000 households and create significant employment opportunities in both the construction and operational phases, the company explained.
“Establishing Minesto UK Headquarters in North Wales is a strategic decision that will help make Wales a global leader in the marine energy sector. In the short term, around 30 direct jobs will be created, followed by hundreds more in the long term in areas like manufacturing, offshore operations and new project development,” said Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto. “Today’s announcement represents an important step into the full commercialisation of marine energy in Wales.”
The Welsh Government has been working with Minesto over a number of years on feasibility studies to help bring this investment to North Wales.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “I am delighted that this EU funds investment has helped pave the way for Minesto to set up its UK headquarters in North Wales which will create high quality jobs in what is a rapidly expanding and important sector for Wales.”
“We have extensive raw wave and tidal energy resources along our shorelines, and this is an excellent example of commercial solutions being developed in Wales to help drive our potential to be a world-leader in the marine energy market. This investment will not only help create greener and more efficient sources of energy, but will also create jobs and vital opportunities for growth in North Wales.”
According to a report commissioned by the Welsh Government, marine energy could boost the Welsh economy by up to 840 million pounds annually after 1GW has been deployed.
“We have been working closely with the Welsh Government over the course of the last year to ensure that this investment will enable Minesto to move into commercialisation, as well as to establish marine energy as a viable industry in North Wales and the UK. This is great news, not only for us as a company, but also for Wales as a region – and indeed the entire marine energy industry, since this marks an important recognition of the potential of marine energy in Wales and elsewhere,” said Anders Jansson.
In July 2014, Minesto was awarded an ‘Agreement for Lease’ for a commercial demonstration site for electricity production from tidal currents near Holyhead Island in Wales, called Holyhead Deep. Holyhead Deep is a seabed area west of Anglesey, North Wales. Minesto first identified the area as a location for a commercial Deep Green installation with help from another EU funded project, SEACAMS, in 2012.
Minesto’s tidal power plant, called Deep Green, has been producing electricity in the waters off Northern Ireland for almost two years now.