Wave and Tidal Industry hails £4 million boost from Scottish Energy Minister

Posted: Thursday 4th April 2013

RenewableUK has welcomed the announcement of over £4 million of new funding by the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, in a speech on the second day of the trade association’s annual Wave and Tidal Energy conference in London.

Mr Ewing told more than 500 delegates that the Scottish Government and Highlands and Island Enterprise are providing £3 million to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, to enable EMEC to expand its testing facilities by creating an additional berth for a wave device connected to the grid.

He also announced that EMEC will run a £1.1 million project to assess the way that support vessels are used to install and maintain wave and tidal devices in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters. The Minister noted that the potential of such vessels has never been fully explored.

In his speech, Mr Ewing warned that Scotland’s potential to generate power from renewables would never be realised without the right grid infrastructure in place. He welcomed a £7 billion upgrade by Scottish grid companies, but he told the conference “We must ensure that the transmission charging regime does not discourage development from taking place around Scotland’s islands”.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery said: “This very welcome announcement of funding by the Scottish Energy Minister will help to accelerate growth and generate further private investment in the wave and tidal sector. EMEC is continuing to attract global interest as an advanced workshop for developing wave and tidal energy.

The Minister is also well aware of the challenges ahead – in his speech he rightly highlighted the urgent need for detail on Electricity Market Reform and for the UK Government to adopt a decarbonisation target as soon as possible. Such measures will send a clear signal to developers and investors that we are open for business in marine energy. As Mr Ewing pointed out, the issue of high transmission charges also needs to be addressed as a priority, so that we can continue to lead the rest of the world in the wave and tidal energy sector.”

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