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Renewable Energy: Seas and Oceans

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of (a) the potential to derive energy from ocean swell and (b) designs which are capable of capturing energy from very large ocean swell; and if he will make a statement. [201937]

Malcolm Wicks: The Carbon Trust has estimated that the total resource for, wave and tidal stream/range generation in the UK is around 43 GW. They have estimated that, ultimately, around 15-20 per cent. of the UK’s current electricity demand could be supplied by wave and tidal stream technologies. Of this, 10-15 per cent. could be from ocean swell (i.e. wave) energy.

There are a wide range of devices being developed to generate electricity from ocean waves but none has yet progressed to a stage where they are ready for deployment at a commercial scale. The Government have provided support for research and development into wave energy to meet the needs of innovation at all stages of technology readiness. This includes funding through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council “SuperGen” programme, the Technology Strategy Board, the new Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and the Carbon Trust. The ETI’s first call for expressions of interest, launched in December 2007, included proposals for research into wave and tidal energy.

In addition, BERR has £42 million funding available under the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund to support the commercial demonstration of full scale wave and tidal energy devices. When they are deployed, they will be supported by the renewables obligation, under which they will receive an enhanced level of support.

Government support for wave and tidal energy technologies will be reviewed as part of the UK Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation which is due to be published in the summer.

Renewable Energy: Severn Estuary

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the feasibility study into the options for generating renewable electricity in the Severn Estuary will include assumptions about the price and availability of oil during the construction, operation, decommissioning and removal of each option. [202339]


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Malcolm Wicks: Yes we intend to use consistent oil assumptions when comparing options.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will commission a small-scale trial of tidal lagoon technology during the Government's feasibility study into the options for generating renewable electricity in the Severn Estuary. [202340]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government have proposed amendments to the Renewables Obligation to support tidal lagoons and barrages below 1GW. It will be for project developers to obtain the necessary consents and permissions through the usual procedures. The feasibility study will consider tidal lagoons alongside other options.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the feasibility study into the options for generating renewable electricity in the Severn Estuary will take into account the (a) location, (b) size, (c) objective, (d) costs and (e) impacts of the compensatory habitats associated with each option. [202341]

Malcolm Wicks: We will make clear in the options appraisal what assumptions are being made on compensatory habitat.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the feasibility study into the options for generating renewable electricity in the Severn Estuary will consider the (a) methods, (b) resources, (c) assumptions and (d) costs associated with the decommissioning and removal of each option. [202351]

Malcolm Wicks: We will be issuing a call for evidence through the strategic environmental assessment process through which we will ask for details of decommissioning plans for all options.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the feasibility study into the options for generating renewable electricity in the Severn Estuary will consider the latest performance and environmental impact data relating to the Annapolis Royal barrage in Nova Scotia, Canada. [202353]

Malcolm Wicks: The feasibility study will look at the experience of other tidal installations, including Annapolis Royal, recognising the Severn Estuary is not an exact replica of the Bay of Fundy.

Small Businesses: Construction

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to provide loans to small and medium sized enterprises which are construction companies to assist them in meeting the capital costs associated with high energy-efficiency construction projects. [202531]


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Mr. Thomas: BERR has no plans to develop loan funds targeted specifically at construction sectors delivering energy-efficiency projects.

Small and medium size businesses operating in construction and energy sectors are already eligible for the Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG), subject to lenders normal lending criteria. This is the Government's principal debt finance instrument, managed as part of BERR’s strategy to help businesses to be able to access finance they need. In the Financial Year 2006-07 almost 5 per cent. of the overall distribution of SFLG lending went to businesses operating across construction sectors.

UK/US Defence Technology Co-operation Treaty

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will provide assistance to small and medium-sized businesses to enable them to take advantage of the UK/US Defence Technology Co-operation Treaty. [201578]

Mr. Thomas: A key aim of the US/UK Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty is to remove the administrative burden of applying for and processing US export licences, helping all companies to reduce their costs in this area. Once the treaty is ratified by the United States, the MOD will develop and issue guidance for industry which will be supported by training packages as required. BERR’s Export Control Organisation will provide
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information to business on the interaction between the treaty and UK export controls.

In addition, MOD is working closely with the larger defence companies to find the best ways for their sub-contractors to take advantage of the treaty.

The UKTI Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) will continue to offer support to defence SMEs through its existing Charter scheme. More generally, Business Link has been created to act as the primary channel for all businesses providing them with access to the help and support they need to start and develop their business.

Zurich Financial Services

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department and its predecessors paid to Zurich Financial Services in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of each payment was. [199586]

Mr. Thomas: Central records indicate that the Department and its predecessors have paid the following to Zurich Financial Services since 1997:

Purpose Amount (£)

2002

Partnership Fund Grant Payment

14,220

2003

Partnership Fund Grant Payment

7,295



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