Orkney marine energy centre shortlisted for EU Blue Economy business award

Making the right connections; cable-fitters at work at EMEC
Making the right connections; cable-fitters at work at EMEC

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Orkney has been shortlisted for a top EU renewable energy award as prospective Blue Economy Business of the Year.

To date, more marine energy companies have demonstrated their pioneering wave and tidal energy technologies at EMEC than at any other single site in the world: 16 wave and tidal energy clients from nine European countries have demonstrated a total of 25 marine energy devices in Orkney waters.

This number will further increase this year when Sustainable Marine Energy’s PLAT-O and Scotrenewables Tidal Power’s SR2000 become the 26th and 27th technologies to be tested at EMEC.

This mass of activity has been the catalyst for the development of the marine renewables industry locally, nationally and further afield.

Organised by the EU Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), the Blue Economy Business Awards aims to showcase excellent practices from industry, honouring those who have made a specific contribution to bringing and developing innovation in the’ blue economy’.

Since being established in 2003, an experienced supply chain has developed around EMEC in Orkney, servicing the many technologies that test off Orkney’s coasts as well as exporting around the world.

EMEC is involved in various transnational projects looking to progress marine renewables towards commercialisation, the most recent of which – FORESEA – provides funding support to ocean energy technology developers to access the world-leading test facilities throughout North-West Europe.

Globally, EMEC works with national governments helping them to establish their own marine energy test centres, and thus national industries, and has led an international network for test centres across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania to ensure common standards are developed across the world.

Commenting on the awards, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries said: “The Blue Economy Business Awards aim to shine a light on success stories, to show how marine and maritime businesses in Europe can stimulate the creation and exchange of knowledge, promote innovation and new technologies for the benefit of our society.”

The winner of the award will be announced in Hamburg next month at the first summit of the Blue Economy Business and Science Forum.

Oliver Wragg, EMEC Commercial Director, said: “When the centre was established in 2003 it had two objectives – to harness the power of the waves and tides that surround the UK and Europe, and to stimulate economic development in coastal European communities.

“Orkney now acts as a case study for the economic benefits that can be achieved through the activities taking place in and around a test facility – activities that if developed to a larger scale will form a new sustainable industry for the blue economy.”

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