HRH The Duke of York met with representatives of the South West.RDA.

Exeter briefs Duke of York on marine energy

HRH The Duke of York has heard first-hand how the South West aims to lead the world in the development of green energy from the sea.

The Duke, who is the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, visited the University’s Cornwall Campus for a seminar and round-table discussion about marine renewable energy in the region.

He met with representatives of the South West RDA, which is spearheading the Wave Hub project off the North Cornwall coast, and the University of Exeter which launched the UK’s first ever renewable energy degree in 2003. He then visited the University’s Renewable Energy laboratory, to talk to staff, students and graduates about their research. He also had the opportunity to talk to representatives from local renewable energy businesses who are working with academics and students.

Kelvyn Derrick, deputy chairman of the South West RDA and chairman of Regen SW, the renewable energy agency for the region, hosted the seminar.

He said: “This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the groundbreaking work that is being done in our region to develop marine renewables and other forms of green energy, and to explore how that work can be used to develop exports and attract inward investment.

“We were able to update the Duke on progress on Wave Hub and the Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Energy, through which we aim to be world leaders in harnessing the power of the sea by leading the development of a low carbon economy in the South West.”

Professor Matthew Evans, Provost for the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus (Tremough), said: "It was a great honour to welcome His Royal Highness the Duke of York to the Tremough Campus. It was also an excellent opportunity for us to share with The Duke some of the work we are doing to develop expertise on renewable energy in the region.

“We were keen to share not only the achievements of our research staff, students and graduates, but also to show how we are working with businesses across the region to help Cornwall lead the way in this fast-growing industry. This is an activity that we see as increasingly important and will be developing significantly in our future plans for the Campus."

During his visit the Duke also met two of the four wave device companies that will be using Wave Hub. Wave Hub is a proposal from the South West RDA to develop a wave farm 10 miles off the north Cornwall coast by building a giant electrical ‘socket’ on the seabed, connected to the National Grid by an underwater cable.

The project is expected to be up and running in 2010 and will allow wave device developers to test their renewable energy technology on a scale not seen before.

The Duke was also briefed on the Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Energy (PRIMaRE), a £15 million project to support the development of marine energy in the region, particularly the Wave Hub project.

PRIMaRE is a partnership between the University of Exeter and University of Plymouth to carry out marine renewable energy research and development, and has been supported with an initial investment of £7.3 million from the South West RDA.

Date: 17 October 2008

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