MEP demands Cornwall retain renewable energy investment post-Brexit

Molly has welcomed news that Cornwall Council is continuing its support for marine-based energy by taking ownership of the Wave Hub, supported by £14m of government finance and the creation of a low carbon Enterprise Zone in the key ports of Hayle and Falmouth during 2017.

Speaking alongside the Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, at the annual conference of Ocean Energy Europe in Brussels, Molly said:

“European funding is proving vital for the important energy transition needed in order to tackle climate change and create green jobs. I hope this EU commitment to ocean energy at the highest level will be matched by government commitment. Five out of six Cornish MPs voted for Brexit and they promised that Cornwall wouldn’t lose out as a result of leaving the EU. I intend to hold them to that promise and demand EU funding is completely replaced once Cornwall is no longer eligible for European Regional Development Funds.

“I will also be watching for an announcement from Philip Hammond in the autumn statement that marine energy will be given a sufficiently high strike price in the Contracts for Difference process to enable the development of this renewable energy source that has such tremendous economic and environmental potential.”

Yesterday Australian energy company Carnegie Wave Energy announced it will be investing £60m in a marine energy project at Hayle. The project, located approximately 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall, will connect 1MW of power to the grid in 2018 and 15MW by 2021.

Commissioner Vella used today’s conference to launch the EU’s Ocean Energy Roadmap, which includes a target of 10% of EU energy needs to come from the ocean by 2050. The Power to Transform report commissioned by Molly in 2015 identified the huge renewable energy potential of the South West and its ability to contribute to Europe’s ocean energy target. The report estimates that 34% of renewable energy capacity could come from marine and inshore estuarine tidal energy across the region. Molly concluded:

“The announcement that the exciting wave hub project at Hayle is to receive EU backing and the support of Cornwall Council is great for Cornwall’s renewable energy portfolio. The region has the potential to become a major electricity generator which in turn can become a major income generator for the local economy. Cornwall has one of the region’s best overall strategies for developing renewable energy with the Council playing a leading role in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.”