HC Deb 13 February 1978 vol 944 cc18-9
14. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will report progress on the programme to assess the feasibility of power generation from waves.

Mr. Eadie

The research and development programme on wave energy, announced in April 1976, is making good progress and results already obtained enabled the Department to increase it in April 1977. The programme now stands at £2½ million and will run to October 1978. Further results are expected shortly and will show what further work should be undertaken.

Mr. Rost

Will the Minister confirm that wave power offers the most interesting potential of the renewable energy sources? As we still have a world lead on the research and development of wave power, will he give an assurance that we shall not drag our feet on this but will move ahead as quickly as we can to full prototype production if and when it becomes possible?

Mr. Eadie

Yes, Sir. I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that we shall not drag our feet. However, I should point out that when we are talking about renewable sources of energy we are talking about very expensive sources of energy. Bearing that in mind, we certainly will pursue the point that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that after three decades of effort, and the expenditure of thousands of millions of pounds on research, nuclear power is giving us only 3 per cent. of our total energy? Does he agree that if a fraction of that effort were put into wave power we could get a much better return on our money?

Mr. Eadie

We have already told the House that we think wave power has amazing potential. It is difficult to assess the cost at present. I have been told that a figure of three times the present cost of nuclear generation appears to be possible.