LONDON Britain could generate the equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil a year and become a net exporter of electricity using just a third of its marine energy potential, according to a new report.
By 2050, offshore wind, tidal and wave technologies could generate as much energy as the average annual output of the UK North Sea oil and gas production over the past four decades, slashing carbon emissions, boosting tax revenues and export earnings, according to a report commissioned by the Offshore Valuation Group of government and energy industry organisations.
"This independent report shows that marine renewable energy could provide a substantial jobs and investment opportunity for the UK, an alternative secure energy supply and export potential for clean electricity," Rob Hastings, marine director at the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed around Britain, said.
Even if it only taps a third of its potential, some 145,000 new jobs could be created in the UK offshore energy sector, generating some 28 billion pounds in tax revenues annually, the report says.
It said Britain could also generate enough clean electricity offshore to meet current demand six times over if it were to fully exploit its offshore potential, allowing the country to become a net exporter of energy, not just electricity.
The Offshore Valuation Group is made up of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Government, The Crown Estate, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE.L), RWE Innogy (RWEG.DE), E.ON (EONGn.DE), DONG Energy, Statoil (STL.OL), Vestas (VWS.CO), Mainstream Renewable Power, and Renewable Energy Systems.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; editing by James Jukwey)