Renewable energy interests must be protected offshore

BWEA, UK’s wind, wave and tidal association, today welcomed the inclusion of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill into the Queen's Speech, but cautioned that renewable energy interests must be protected in final legislation.

The Bill promises greater confidence and economic benefits for marine developers through simplification of the legislative framework. It should help balance the interest of all the users of the marine environment, from conservation to renewable energy by promoting sustainable development.

Maria McCaffery MBE, Chief Executive of the BWEA: “The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is a pioneering piece of legislation, but we must ensure that it allows for the expansion of marine renewable energy, including offshore wind, wave and tidal.”

While BWEA recognises the scope and ambition of the Government’s long awaited Marine Bill, it has also raised 4 issues:
the timetable of the Bill must be complementary with the Round 3 offshore wind energy delivery process;
the Marine Management Organisation must be fit for the purpose: well resourced and with sustainable development clearly defined within its remit;
Marine Policy Statements must explicitly include renewable energy targets.

The new network of Marine Conservation Zones should be designated by the new MMO, as is proposed in the legislation being considered in Scotland. The designation process must consider the impact on all future use in terms of renewable energy developments.

“The Marine and Coastal Access Bill has been long time coming. We will be the first country in the world to have such legislation. We must get it right,” added McCaffery. "It would be a pyrrhic victory if short term conservation undermined long term sustainability and our ability to tackle climate change".

Also of interest to the renewables sector was the Education and Skills Bill, particularly the provisions to create a new National Apprenticeships Service and secure a demand-led adult skills system, driven by learners and employers. The industry hopes the Bill will help alleviate skills shortages in the renewable energy sector.

The British Wind Energy Association is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 453 corporate members, BWEA is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change.

Source: BWEA