Wave and tidal power to get an extra £50m

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Environmental and renewable energy groups welcomed the Government's decision yesterday to put an extra £50m into the development of wave and tidal power technologies.

Environmental and renewable energy groups welcomed the Government's decision yesterday to put an extra £50m into the development of wave and tidal power technologies.

The new Marine Research Development Fund announced by Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is designed to speed up the commercial deployment of tidal power so the UK is less reliant on wind power to meet its target of producing 10 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

The announcement came as Wavegen, one of the country's leading tidal power companies, launched its bid to raise £10m from the City to fund a series of developments, including the construction of a wave power turbine built into the cliff face on the Faroe Islands.

Marcus Rand, the chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, said the new funding, which triples the amount being spent on wave power, was a welcome first step towards commercialising a number of exciting technologies. Many of the technologies under development involve combined turbines sited in offshore waters, which could generate electricity from wind and wave power.

Tom Delay, the chief executive of the Carbon Trust, also backed what he described as a "significant boost" for the UK marine sector. The next step, he added, was to make the UK a global centre for excellence in tidal power technology.

Friends of the Earth joined in with its support for the increased funding. But it warned that the Government's move must not signal a retreat from its support for the expansion of onshore wind farms, which is facing increasing opposition.

Total government support for renewable energy over the next four years totals some £350m. Developers of wave and tidal power technologies will also be able to benefit from the renewables obligation, which requires electricity suppliers to buy a set proportion of their requirements from green energy sources.

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