Fergus Ewing Scottish Energy Minister yesterday presented the winners of the 2015 Heriot Watt Scottish Energy News Researchers of the Year competition with their prizes.
Each winner was presented with a fine glass trophy and a cheque for £500 by the Minister at a ceremony hosted in Edinburgh by the UK Green Investment Bank. The winners are: –
Energy, Infrastructure and Society: Dr. JENNIFER ROBERTS, Strathclyde University
Energy and Fossil Fuels: Dr. CAIRONG JIANG, St. Andrew’s University
Energy and the Environment: MARK CROUCH and JACOBS
Energy Materials and Storage: Dr. JIN XUAN, Heriot Watt University
Energy Entrepreneurship: DAVID TOWNSEND, Town Rock Energy Ltd
Energy and the Marine Environment: Dr. TONY GUTIERREZ, Heriot Watt University
Fergus Ewing said: “In any competition, there can only be one winner – and the one winners in each of these six key categories are to be thoroughly congratulated for their ‘early-career’ research in these areas of the energy industry.
“You are very important to the future of Scotland’s energy industries, not least because your research may be taken up to further help develop Scotland economy and energy sector – and this work – and the Heriot Watt Scottish Energy News Researchers of the Year Awards – may also help your to develop your own careers, whether in industry or in acadaemia.”
The Minister also emphasised the importance of collaboration and partnership between the Scottish Government, academic research, innovation and enterprise economic development. He said:
“Heriot Watt’s Energy Academy – and its Institute of Petroleum Studies – are two of the most successful examples of driving forward the energy agenda in Scotland. Indeed, with a student population of 11,000 people, 1,700 academic staff and an annual turnover of £120 million a year, Heriot Watt University is itself a powerful economic engine for Scotland.
“It is highly appropriate to note that Heriot Watt University is itself named after two early Scottish entrepreneurs – George Heriot, the 16th century financier and banker, and James Watt, the 18th century engineer and innovator whose invention of the steam engine literally helped to power the first global industrial revolution.
“Because their areas of expertise – finance and money, and engineering and innovation – are still vital ingredients in today’s Scotland’s energy mix.”
The Minister also praised the live and current investment and development of the Atlantis Resources / MeyGen tidal turban array in the Pentland Firth off Caithness. “This is a tremendous examplar of success for Scotland’s energy sector.
“Atlantis has raised the capital, got the consents, hired expert staff, ordered the tidal turbines and is presently carrying out groundworks to land the subsea cables on Caithness.
“My prediction is that Atlantis / MeyGen will be a tremendous economic fillip to Scotland, not only for its economic and industrial impact in the energy sector – but also – and I’m wearing my ‘other hat’ as Minister for Tourism here – as a ‘must go to’ world tourism destination site.
“So much so, I can almost hear the engines of the aircraft landing at John O’Groats airport at nearby Wick with plane-loads of tourists coming to see the Atlantis tidal energy development.
Ewing also stressed the achievement of renewable energy in generation just under half (49.6%) of Scotland’s energy last year – well on track to meet the 100% target by 2020. “Offshore wind power is another tremendous success for Scotland’s energy sector,” he said, while welcoming the contribution made by solar power and biomass power.
The Minister is presently taking forward dialogue between Holyrood and Westminster on financial issues which are crucial to Scotland’s wind/ renewables industry – especially the ‘crucial’ feed-in tariff.
And he highlighted the importance of supporting development of offshore wind energy projects in the ‘Energy Isles’ – (Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles). “These are the best locations in the UK to locate offshore wind farms – not the Central Belt.
“The potential benefits to the Energy Isles of sharing in community benefits from offshore wind developments offer transformational change to the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles, which would be a particularly welcome side-benefit given that it is the driving wind which contributes to so much fuel-poverty in the Western Isles.”
Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Director of the Energy Academy, commented: “The Energy Academy provides a framework for world-class energy study and research – a sort of ‘gateway to the industrial world’ and one of the key benefits that our partnership with Scottish Energy News in the Heriot Watt 2015 Researcher of the Year Awards has been the way it has raised the profile of the Energy Academy.
“Our awards also reflect the entire academic spectrum of the work of the Energy Academy, ranging from technical and engineering, to social and political aspects of energy policy – all issues which also impact on the ‘energy trilemma’ (affordability and security of energy supply, as well as the low-carbon and environmental issues) – with which we constantly grapple”.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing also made the following comment in his address at the Heriot Watt Scottish Energy News Researchers of the Year awards.
“I would also like to put this on the record – Scottish Energy News is a very clear, very helpful source of information for all the significant energy news in Scotland – I read it every day at 6.30am” – Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Scottish Government
* A Special Report on the Heriot Watt Scottish Energy News Researchers of the Year Awards 2015 – with full coverage of all the winners, photographs, and details of the winning research projects – will be published shortly in Scottish Energy News.