* Scheme will support up to two projects
* Winners will be announced later this year
LONDON, April 5 Britain launched on Thursday a
20 million pound ($31.75 million) contest to support up to two
pilot wave energy projects, as the government hopes to scale up
the cleaner technology to power more homes and businesses and
curb carbon emissions.
Marine power has the potential to provide up to 20 percent
of current electricity demand in the United Kingdom, as well as
help the country reach its climate targets and support thousands
of jobs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.
"This scheme will help move marine power to the next stage
of development, the demonstration of a number of wave and tidal
devices in array formation out at sea," Energy and Climate
Change Minister Greg Barker said in a statement.
Companies and organisations across the UK will be able to
bid for a share of the 20 million pound prize that was first
announced last summer. Winning bids will be announced by the
government towards the end of the year.
Lobby group RenewableUK has estimated that at least 120
million pounds is needed for the UK industry to reach full-scale
Every pound of public funding in the UK has unlocked 6
pounds of private investment, but more is needed, according to
the lobby group.
The technology, like other renewables such as solar and
biomass, needs government funding to reach commercial scale and
then subsidies after that as it grows to be more cost efficient.
($1 = 0.6300 British pounds)
(Reporting by Jeff Coelho; editing by James Jukwey)