Sturgeon pledges to publish Scottish marine energy sector report after collapse of £10m Salter Prize scheme

A new report into the Scottish marine energy sector will be published ‘shortly’.

This was announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in response to questions from Holyrood MPs about the collapse of the Scot-Govt’s £10 million Saltire Prize competition.

Despite the prize never being awarded – and the financial sinking of two Scottish wave energy developers – Sturgeon said that wave and tidal energy has taken “major steps forward”.

She added: “It is important to recognise, not withstanding the fact the prize has not been awarded, the marine energy industry has taken major steps forward since 2008.

“The industry has faced a whole serious of challenges, technological, financial, environmental, the availability of grid connections and – in fact, the investment climate has not been helped by the UK government’s decision to remove the ring-fenced subsidy from marine energy.

“These are the reasons why no competitor was able to meet the deadline of June 2017.”

The Saltire Prize was launched 10 years ago by her predecessor Alex Salmond.

The criteria for winning the £10 million prize required a developer to demonstrate a system that was a commercially-viable wave or tidal stream energy technology achieving the greatest volume of electrical output over the set minimum hurdle of 100 GWh over a continuous two-year period off Scotland.

Liam McArthur, the Liberal MSP for Orkney, commented: “As a statement of government intent and support for the marine energy sector, the Salter prize was a valuable initiative. It also drew global attention to the world-leading work being done on marine renewables in Scotland, particularly in Orkney.

“A decade on, however, and there seems no prospect of the prize ever being won. Meanwhile, the marine energy sector’s need for government support and intent remains undiminished.

Despite the collapse of the budding domestic wave-power developers Pelamis and Aquamarine Energy, the greatest technical – and emerging financial –  triumph in Scotland’s marine energy sector is sea-bed tidal turbines where Atlantis Resources is currently building the massive MeyGen array off the Caithness coast.

Last week, Atlantis launched a new five year bond – with an 8% coupon (rate of interest) – to raise up to £5 million for new tidal energy projects.

9 Feb 2018

 

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