The UK’s largest marine energy conference took place last week in Llandudno, bringing together experts from across the sector.
Technology in the sector is developing rapidly and the Marine Energy Wales conference seen experts across the sector coming together to highlight their progress and share their expertise, knowledge and vision to help Wales lead the way in the sector.
The first day explored ‘Tapping into the Tidal Range Potential’ in a session that was a holistic exploration of what is needed to kickstart the tidal range industry with experts from the British Hydropower Association, Local Partnerships Marine Energy Programme, DST Innovations, Tidal Range Alliance and the Lead Specialist Adviser for Marine Regulatory Approaches at Natural Resources Wales.
Also on the agenda was a look at the Marine Renewable Energy Policy Post-COP26, which aimed to answer the question “Has COP26 delivered for our sector?”
There were also sessions on Powering the Green Economy with Marine Energy as well as technology showcases from Bombora Wave Power and HydroWing, and Minesto and Marine Power Systems.
Delegates also had the opportunity to question experts from the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence, which supports the Welsh supply chain to develop new products, processes and services for the offshore renewable energy sector.
Wednesday featured more technology showcases from Nova Innovation and Orbital Marine Power, Ocean Energy and QED Naval, while a ‘Deploy. De-Risk. Develop’ session explored the work of the Welsh Test Centre Network, which operates easy access, fully consented ‘quayside’ and ‘open water’ test sites in the Milford Haven Waterway.
A Made in Wales: Lessons Learned from Welsh Supply Chain Companies session, chaired by the project manager from Marine Energy Wales, Jay Sheppard, featured Wales-based companies each giving a brief overview of their activities in Wales, as well as a discussion about the opportunities and challenges associated with growing the Welsh supply chain to capitalise on the opportunity for local content; highlighting the need for diversification, investment, skills and knowledge transfer, and financial support to deliver the burgeoning offshore renewables demand.
Senior Offshore Development Manager for EDF Renewables Nancy McLean also chaired a session on Seeking Consent, which will discuss the intricacies of the consenting process in Welsh waters, highlighting ongoing challenges and opportunities for improvement.
The push for renewable energy has rapidly accelerated due to the war in Ukraine – and the subsequent need to end dependence on Russian oil – and the increasingly pressing need to reach net zero in order to tackle the climate crisis.
Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters also delivered keynote speeches.