Wave Energy Scotland, the new quango set up by the Scottish Government following the financial collapse of Pelamis Wave Power last year, has awarded its first public-sector contract – to a group of former Pelamis employees.
Yesterday, Scottish Energy Minister announced that Wave Energy Scotland is to receive more than £14 million over the next 12 months.
An unspecified amount of this money will be spent on paying former Pelamis chief executive Richard Yemm and 11 other ex-Pelamis staff ‘to capture the knowledge of the Pelamis technology development path for the wider benefit of the wave energy sector.’
Highland and Islands Enterprise, on behalf of Wave Energy Scotland, acquired the intellectual property and a range of physical assets previously owned by Pelamis. And yesterday, Wave Energy Scotland agreed to work with 12 former Pelamis employees to capture the learning they acquired on their technology development journey.
Ewing said: “I am very pleased to offer a significant budget of £14.3 million to kick-start Wave Energy Scotland – this is the biggest technology development programme the wave sector has ever seen.
“We have adopted a completely new approach to funding the sector that will foster collaborative research and development and will encourage technology developers to work with large engineering companies, academics and each other to address shared challenges.
“As Professor Stephen Salter, the founding father of wave energy, said, “Developers need to be in alliance with each other against the hazards of the sea rather than fighting one another for inadequate funding”.
“I am also very glad that we were able to deliver on our aspiration to capture the know-how from device development and retain some of the best brains working in marine energy in Scotland.”
Speaking in Edinburgh, Dee Nunn, Renewable UK’s Wave & Tidal Development Manager, said: “This is great news for the wave energy sector; a resounding endorsement of the enormous potential of the industry at the very time when it’s needed most.
“Following a number of setbacks in recent months, this will help us to move forward with a renewed sense of confidence. By working with some of the former staff from Pelamis, Wave Energy Scotland will retain knowledge and skills which have been built up during years of experience in developing wave devices in real sea conditions.
“This intellectual capital is vital to ensure that Britain retains its global lead in marine energy.
“We thank the Scottish Government for its tireless work in continuing to support marine energy in innovative ways. Wave Energy Scotland looks set to be a key player in terms of technological development. What we need now is for all UK Governments to work together in a closely co-ordinated way to support wave and tidal energy and secure the economic benefits for all parts of the nation.
“This will help the sector to mature and attract much-needed investment, driving down costs in the long term as we successfully harness one of our most powerful natural resources”.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, added: “This is an exciting time for the wave energy sector in Scotland and it offers a great opportunity to draw on the expertise which exists in industry and academia.
“The WES team don’t underestimate the challenges which lie ahead. But this is a chance not to be missed and the team is relishing being able to take a fresh approach to resolving the issues which so often hamper the early stages of the development of innovative technology.”
Tim Hurst, Head of Offshore Development, Highlands Enterprise, has been appointed interim director of Wave Energy Scotland, which will shorlty start recruiting for staff to fill a dozen new public-sector jobs.