Despite leaving the bloc last year, the European Union has pledged to provide Britain with £31m in funding for a Welsh renewable energy site.
First approved in 2020, the Morlais Infrastructure development will benefit from a significant windfall from the EU, which ministers say is likely to be the last grant paid by Brussels for projects in the UK.
Run by the social enterprise Menter Môn, £31m will come from the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO), with the Crown Estate also investing an additional £1.2m to ensure the delivery of environmental monitoring and mitigation packages, assessing impact and interactions with sensitive species in the area and testing associated technologies.
Once operational, the project represents a major step forward in the development of renewable tidal power in the UK, and it is hoped this could kickstart further local investment in this sector thanks to connectivity to the country’s grid. In 2020, it was claimed that 100 jobs would be directly created in the first decade of the project, a figure that is expected to increase significantly when partner and supply chain businesses are taken into account.
‘We are looking to find a pathway for marine renewable developments, seeking win-win outcomes and supporting projects to contribute towards positive outcomes for marine biodiversity,’ said Climate Change Minister, Julie James. ‘We look to the industry to use this opportunity and work together to demonstrate the cost reductions and private investment that will help establish this clean, resilient and ethical power as a significant part of the global energy system.’
‘This is excellent news, last year I visited Anglesey to hear more about the exciting plans for Morlais,’ added Lesley Griffiths, Minister for North Wales. ‘Anglesey and North Wales as a whole are very well placed to play a key role in innovative low carbon energy generation which benefits local communities. The news today is further evidence of that. Not only will the project be a boost to future low carbon energy production but will also generate jobs and skills in the area.’
In related news, earlier this year £8.1bn of investment was announced for green infrastructure in Wales.
Image credit: Christopher Cassidy