New report shows Scottish-EU partnership key to mass wave energy

Nathanael Williams

Orkney and European expertise leads to improved hopes for wave tech

A NEW REPORT by Wave Energy Scotland (WES) and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has confirmed that the Scottish-EU partnership is crucial to the development of viable European wave energy on the commercial markets.

Their findings come after an ongoing joint project EMEC in Orkney where European bodies and experts have been testing wave energy devices in real sea conditions.

Experts who have been conducting trials in Orkney also stated that the information and research gathered will help wave energy device firms develop technology that can deal with issues such as forecast uncertainties and budgeting.

Apart from funding and support from the European Commission, there have been nine companies from all across Scotland which have used the test centre for their prototypes and projects. Local firms which specialise in marine engineering like Aquatera, Green Marine, Leask Marine, Orcades Marine, Scotmarine and Sula Diving from Orkney were joined by the Xodus Group from Glasgow.

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Tim Hurst, the managing director of WES, said: “We’re delighted to capture the accrued knowledge from an experienced marine renewables industry. We and EMEC are well placed to add our considerable wisdom to this invaluable guidance.

“The study will help our programme participants to make informed decisions at earlier stages of their device development. Ultimately, this will help avoid costly errors at the deployment stage.”

WES was also behind grants to wave energy startups based in Scotland of up to £2.8 million this year. 

A subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), WES, is also funded by the Scottish Government and supports all projects that successfully pass through a competitive stage of testing. Its total investment in wave energy technology development amounts to £24.6 million across 56 projects in just over two years.

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Scotland has already carved out a reputation as a leading destination for wave testing with the EU seeing it as key to Europe’s collective renewable efforts. Last month, industry experts in the tidal sector hailed Scotland becoming the nation with the most powerful operational and commercial tidal device in the world.

Elaine Buck, EMEC’s technical manager, adds: “To date, EMEC’s test sites have played host to 19 developers and more than 100 wider research projects. European expertise and Orkney’s supply chain companies have been instrumental in those activities, and we have drawn upon all that experience in this project.

“The input we’ve gathered is unprejudiced in drawing together both the positive and negative lessons learnt and covers a depth of expertise captured within each of the participating companies.

“By cataloguing some of this learning we hope the next developers on site can de-risk and accelerate their plans, as well as achieve cost reduction, armed with guidance based on hard-won experience.”

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