The new quango will be administered by another Scot-Government quango – Highlands and Islands Enterprise – and will have the power to appoint a new board and tax-payer funded chief executive.
It will also recruit a core team of engineering and research staff. The size and skill mix of the team will be established by the quango’s new management team.
A ‘significant budget’ will be required over a sustained period to realise the benefits expected from the new entity. Funds will be made available from within the Scottish energy budget.
Achieving greater industry collaboration will be a key objective for a new body that is being created to encourage innovation in wave energy technology, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing confirmed. Wave Energy Scotland (WES) will foster industry collaboration that will drive research and development, share learning and knowledge and bring in expertise from other industry sectors such as oil and gas.
The Minister also revealed that WES will seek to retain intellectual property rights from device development in Scotland to benefit the Scottish wave industry.
He said: “In recognition of the changing market conditions the sector is experiencing, this is a new approach to supporting the sector that will encourage knowledge sharing between developers and fosters greater standardisation across the industry.
“Wave Energy Scotland’s first task will be to identify the optimal areas for research and development. These areas will be agreed in consultation with a range of stakeholders, including device developers, project developers, supply chain companies, academia and utilities.
“One of the most important challenges for the wave sector is the lack of design convergence. The long-term success for wave energy will depend crucially on deeper collaboration between companies, reduced duplication and jointly addressing common technological challenges.
“The approach will help maintain our position as a global leader in marine energy. It will build on Scotland’s valuable engineering and academic expertise, our existing testing infrastructure and the industry’s monumental achievements to date.”
Professor Stephen Salter, the ‘founding father’ of wave energy technology, commented: “Developers need to be in alliance with each other against the hazards of the sea rather than fighting one another for inadequate funding.
“I welcome the commitment of the Scottish Government to the wave energy sector and hope that Wave Energy Scotland will allow more cooperation between sectors of the industry and that the removal of duplication will give time to design the best hardware.”