Crown Estate report highlights fantastic wave and tidal resources in south west and around UK

11 October 2012

A new report by the Crown Estate highlighting the fantastic wave and tidal energy resources around the UK and south west has been welcomed today by the south west marine energy industry.

The research, carried out by The Crown Estate in association with Regen SW and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, identifies that there are significant wave resources off the north Cornwall coast and the largest single area of tidal energy resource in the UK in the Bristol channel. The report, which focused on the maximum available resource potential in each region, concludes that if these resources are developed wave and tidal energy could contribute substantially to the UK’s electricity needs.

Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW commented:

"This report confirms previous analysis that there is significant wave and tidal resources which could be developed around our coast. Regen SW and the South West Marine Energy Park will now be working with the Crown Estate and the industry to bring forward projects to realise this potential energy source and create jobs in the region.”

While the energy resource estimates in the Crown Estate report are much larger than previous studies which looked more closely at development constraints, the immediate priority for the south west is to support the first small scale commercial marine energy projects which are likely to be 10-30 MW projects and to build on the fantastic demonstrations sites we have such as Wave Hub, Lynmouth and the Fab Test.

The Bristol Channel has again been identified as a key resource area of national significance. The challenge is to harness this unique energy source in a way which is cost effective and minimises the impact on the complex marine habitat of the estuary and other users of the sea. As previous studies have shown a single big barrage scheme is probably not the answer because of the costs, environmental risks and impacts on other industries such as Bristol Port. A more balanced approach is needed to deploy mixed technologies which can harness significant energy and create jobs in harmony with the marine environment.

Claire Gibson, general manager of Wave Hub commented:

“The Crown Estate report confirms our understanding of the significant wave and tidal resource off the South West coast. With the Crown Estate’s support some of this resource is relatively easy to exploit. By capitalising on the existence of Wave Hub and the South West Marine Energy Park, we can enable the commercial deployment of marine energy technology and realise the South West’s potential to play an important part in this emerging industry. We look forward to working with The Crown Estate to make this a reality.”

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, commented:

“As this report shows the south west is fortunate to have excellent natural energy resources. This includes the wind and sun as well as wave and tidal. By harnessing the potential of all of these resources we have the opportunity to put secure local generation energy at the heart of our future prosperity.“


Notes to editors

Interviews and further information
To interview Johnny Gowdy or Merlin Hyman call 01392 494 399.

Details of the report
The report produced by Crown Estate is called “UK Wave and Tidal Key Resource Areas Project”. Full details can be found here.

About Regen SW
Regen SW is a leading independent, not-for-profit, centre of expertise in sustainable energy. Its mission is to enable business, local authorities, communities and other organisations to deliver ground-breaking renewable energy and energy efficiency projects with thriving local supply chains.

About the South West Marine Energy Park
The South West was designated as the UK’s first Marine Energy Park in January 2012. The South West MEP’s aim is to provide a focus for investment, technology development and industry to accelerate the commercial deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy technologies. The South West MEP partnership now consists of over 80 organisations in the private sector, research organisations, universities and public bodies. For more details about the South West MEP please download the prospectus at

About Wave Hub

  1. Wave Hub consists of a giant ‘socket’ on the seabed connected to the national grid onshore by an underwater cable, into which wave energy devices can be ‘plugged’ and tested on a scale not seen anywhere before. The project has four berths available and a capacity of 20MW, equivalent to the electricity needs of more than 7,000 homes.
  2. Wave Hub is publicly-owned by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) which has set up a stand-alone operating company, Wave Hub Limited, based in Hayle, Cornwall, to manage the day-to-day operation of the testing facility on its behalf.
  3. Wave Hub is a £30 million construction project funded with £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £13.5 million from the UK Government.
  4. Wave Hub is a partner in the South West Marine Energy Park.
  5. Follow Wave Hub on Twitter @wavehub, or visit