Orkney is home to £65m worth of European marine energy projects

ScotRenewables Tidal Power turbine tied up at Orkney
ScotRenewables Tidal Power turbine tied up at Orkney

The Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is currently involved in 13 European funded projects with a total contracted value of £65 million, one third of which (£22 million) has been leveraged by Scottish companies.

Numerous EU-funded projects are currently underway in Orkney, including the Scotrenewables-led Floating Tidal Energy Commercialisation project, focused on the design and build of a mark 2 SR2000 tidal turbine, and Wello’s Clean Energy for Ocean Waves project which aims to install a 3MW wave energy array at Billia Croo by 2019.

Both projects have received finance from Horizon 2020’s research and innovation programme.

To date, more marine energy converters have been deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, than at any other single site in the world with 19 wave and tidal energy clients spanning 10 countries having tested 30 marine energy devices.
EMEC is also leading the €11 million FORESEA project aiming to help bring ocean energy technologies to market by providing access to North-West Europe’s world-leading network of test centres. As a result of this, and the other projects underway, ocean energy activity in Orkney is increasing steadily, with a healthy pipeline of developers looking to bring their technologies to test over the next few years.

A delegation of senior officials from the EU’s Brussels-based energy, innovation and maritime affairs departments are due to attend an international marine energy ‘show case’ in Orkney later this month.

To coincide with the high-profile visit from Europe, EMEC is also inviting members of the public to an Ocean Energy Open Day on 28 June 2017, with the option of tours of EMEC’s onshore facilities at the Billia Croo wave test site, and the Caldale substation in Eday.

Rémi Gruet, Chief Executive of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “We are delighted to bring a delegation of EU officials to EMEC to see cutting edge ocean energy technologies in action. Europe is currently the global leader in ocean energy technology, and with the right support these technologies can form the bedrock of a mainstream power sector, capable of providing 10% of Europe’s electricity supply by 2050.”

An ocean energy exhibition will be on display at Warness Park in Kirkwall, featuring presentations on how testing work in Orkney is conquering technical challenges and contributing to industry development in peripheral coastal communities.

Meanwhile, the Pentland Firth and Orkney Water Marine Spatial Plan, led by Marine Scotland and supported by Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council, has won an award in the Excellence in Plan- Making Practice category from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area has been to chosen to develop a pilot spatial plan because of its high level of wave and tidal resources, which has recently led to the world’s first commercial lease agreements for the development of wave and tidal power to be issued. 
The plan will support a new statutory marine planning system in Scotland to manage the increasing, and often conflicting, demands on Scottish seas and coastal areas. 
The plan puts information on the variety of marine activities and their potential interactions with other sectors such as biodiversity, tourism and energy in one document and aims to streamline the process of preparing and determining marine planning applications. 
The plan also takes on the challenge of linking marine planning with land use planning activities, and establish an integrated approach to the use, development and protection of resources across the land/ sea interface.

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