INNOVATIVE marine energy development on the Milford Haven Waterway will be accelerated with a significant cash injection from the EU.

The Welsh Government has announced £1.2million to support the work of Marine Energy Wales as it develops its Marine Energy Test Area (META) project.

The £1.9million project will include zones for research and development and a network of seabed areas where marine energy developers can deploy and test their technology.

Marine Energy Wales is an initiative developed and managed by Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, a Community Interest Company that works to protect and enhance the coastal and marine environment for current and future generations.

The company is delighted to receive this funding as it marks yet another important step forward for the industry.

The investment aims to attract more companies to Wales by lowering the risks of developing marine technology and supporting developers, supply-chain businesses and universities involved in marine energy projects.

David Jones, Project Director of Marine Energy Wales said: “After discussing the META concept with industry over the last three years we are pleased to secure the finances and support to now move towards delivery.

“Marine energy has already had a positive impact upon our peripheral economies in Wales, supported local supply chain clustering and diversification, and we see META contributing to the continued cost reduction being delivered by the sector at the moment.”

The Milford Haven test area will become a showcase for Wales’ marine energy sector and forms part of the wider £76m Pembroke Dock Marine scheme, which is one of 11 projects included in the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The scheme will help to develop Pembrokeshire as a world-class centre for marine energy development, fabrication, testing and deployment.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, said: “We want Wales to be at the forefront of research and innovation in the marine energy field so I’m delighted to announce more than £1m of EU funds to help create this test area.”

“It’s a very exciting time for marine energy in Wales and this initiative is another major step in building a thriving industry in Pembrokeshire and in Wales. We are committed to attracting developers from around the world to Welsh waters.”

META has also received funding through the Coastal Communities Fund. The next steps of the project will build on previous work to select the most appropriate sites within the Waterway, continue to engage with stakeholders and formally begin the leasing and licensing process.