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    A milestone agreement announced today will see two of the United Kingdom's marine energy parks work together to support the development of the U.K.'s wave and tidal industry, HydroWorld.com has learned.

    The collaboration agreement -- signed at the RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Conference in London -- will see England's South West Marine Energy Park and Scotland's Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park join forces to share "significant natural and business resources", including the "close working partnerships established between industry, technology developers, academia and the public sector".

    "The memorandum of understanding between the marine energy parks ensures a more coherent and strategic approach in developing the marine renewables industry," Scottish Minster for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing said. "It will also provide us with greater leverage in Europe which will help create a positive business environment to attract investment and generate jobs."

    The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) said the two parks will continue operating within its own geographic area, but that the agreement will provide a basis for the two parks to address common issues while encouraging business and research collaboration.

    "This announcement is yet another example of what can be achieved by bringing industry and government together with local interests," RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said. "This working partnership between the two marine energy parks will help to attract green investment leading to technological advances as the sector moves toward commercialization."

    Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said in July 2012 that hydrokinetic energy could account for as much as 27 GW of power in the U.K. along by 2050, making it a US$23.6 billion industry.

    "We're already leading the way globally on marine power, thanks to our world-class natural resources and outstanding technical know-how," Barker said after today's signing. "Marine energy parks, aimed at sharing expertise and knowledge on the ground, are a vital part of the Coalition Government's vision to keep up this momentum."

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