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U.K.’s Crown Estate Offers Funds for Wave, Tidal Energy Projects

The Crown Estate, owner of the U.K. seabed, plans to offer about 20 million pounds ($32 million) of funding for two wave or tidal power projects to try to spur on an industry nearing its first commercial operations.

The estate will invest in building the projects with their developers using grants from the government, it said today in an e-mailed statement. The operations, which may be wave- or tidal-driven or both, will comprise multiple devices and each will have a capacity of more than 3 megawatts, it said.

The government is encouraging projects as it estimates that energy from waves and tides has the potential to meet as much as 20 percent of the country’s current electricity demand.

“First arrays are important because they are on the critical path to larger schemes around the U.K. and worldwide,” Rob Hastings, infrastructure-portfolio director at The Crown Estate, said in the statement. “By bringing our capital and expertise to bear, we hope to catalyse investments by others.”

To be eligible for funding, projects must have agreements on a site from The Crown Estate and for connection to the grid, and be expected to complete investment decisions by March 2014.

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