New research project to support the development of marine renewable energy in Wales

SEACAMS2, a £17 M three year project at Bangor and Swansea Universities, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is an investment in the potential offered by the marine and coastal economy and marine renewable energy. 

Through SEACAMS2, companies wanting to harness the sea’s power and create a sustainable marine energy industry in Wales will be able to access vital research support they need if they are to be able to progress with their multi-million pound developments.

Finance Minister, Mark Drakeford met key members of the SEACAMS2 team from Swansea at Bangor University on 29 September to receive an update on the start of the second SEACAMS project, supported by the Bioscience Department and Coastal Engineering departments at Swansea University.

SEACAMS 2 launch

Tidal energy is the prime source of marine renewable energy for Wales, with industry looking at various forms of energy generation through tidal energy, tidal lagoons and wave energy. The second SEACAMS funding will extend the amount, quality and access to the type of environmental data that development companies need before engaging on the complexities of installing various types of marine renewable energy projects.

As well as understanding the locations best suited to different types of energy production methods, the developers need an in-depth understanding of how the energy production technologies, whether wave technology, tidal lagoons or any other energy conversion systems, will perform over decades, and how the surrounding environment- the seabed, the water and currents and marine animals will react, as well as any impacts from sea-level change during the long life-times of these energy generators.

Research will focus on information gathering around the two established demonstration zones for marine renewable energy already established by the Crown Estate. These lie off the north-west coast of Anglesey and off the south-west coast of Pembrokeshire. SEACAMS2 will also work with companies investigating the development of large tidal lagoons in both north and south wales as well as the wider marine and coastal business sector of Wales.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM said: “Wales’ coastline offers us the potential to be a world-leader in the marine energy market. Wales has excellent natural resources which can be harnessed and which can play a vital role in our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions…”

Professor of Marine Biology, Kam Tang, who is also the Principal Investigator of SEAMCAMS2 at Swansea University, said: "SEACAMS2 will continue and expand Swansea University's commitment to supporting the growth of marine and coastal businesses, especially in the marine renewable energy and affiliated sectors, in the convergence area via state-of-the-art collaborative R&D activities with the industry."

Picture: (l to r) Professor Kevin Flynn, Swansea University, Dr Mike Roberts, Bangor University, Professor Colin Jago Director of the SEACAMs project, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, Nicole Esteban, SEACAMS Project Manager, Swansea University.