Top EU civil servants visit marine energy centre in Orkney

EU officials EMEC visit Scotrenewables SR2000 at Hatston (PHOTO Colin Keldie)
EU officials EMEC visit Scotrenewables SR2000 at Hatston (PHOTO Colin Keldie)

A delegation from the European Commission visited Orkney, Scotland, this week to get a taste of the pioneering ocean energy advancements taking place across the archipelago.

Orkney’s Ocean Energy Day, part of EU Sustainable Energy Week, also included a public open day providing the local community with the opportunity to visit the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) onshore facilities and hear about the advancements taking place on their doorstep.

Hosted by EMEC and Ocean Energy Europe, representatives from DG Research and Innovation, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and DG Energy visited EMEC’s onshore facilities at the Billia Croo wave test site, followed by boat tours of the wave and tidal energy test sites witnessing technologies developed by Wello, OpenHydro and Tocardo generating electricity into the grid.

The group also boarded and looked inside Scotrenewables’ SR2000 turbine which is currently berthed at Hatston Pier in Kirkwall prior to it being redeployed at EMEC’s tidal test site at the Fall of Warness.

In addition to this, a seminar and exhibition was held at Warness Park, showcasing the ocean energy industry and its supply chain, both from Orkney and around the EU.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC, said: “We currently have 13 EU-funded research projects taking place in Orkney, with €65 million levered by an array of European partners, so we were keen for the European Commission to see this innovation in action with their own eyes.

“EMEC was created to kick-start a marine renewables industry, and harness the power of Europe’s enviable wave and tidal resources.

“To date we’ve seen more technologies tested at EMEC than anywhere else in the world which has stimulated economic development locally and across the UK, encouraged inward investment, and created export opportunities for Orkney’s experienced supply chain.”

EU officials at the Fall of Warness test site (PHOTO Tocardo)
EU officials at the Fall of Warness test site (PHOTO Tocardo)

Piotr Tulej, Head of Unit at DG Research & Innovation, European Commission, said: “We are happy we could enlarge our support to ocean energy via our Horizon 2020 Programme.

“Up until now, some 140 million euro of funding has been allocated to the sector. It is great to see all those various technologies demonstrated here at EMEC  and we do hope that these projects will deliver on their promise regarding efficiency, reliability and survivability. This will send the right signal to investors who are key to further commercial development.”

Felix Leinemann, Head of Unit at DG Fisheries & Maritime Affairs, European Commission, said: “Ocean energy is a promising and emerging sector for Europe.

“What is happening here in Orkney shows why the European Commission sees ocean energy as an integral part of its ‘Blue Growth’ strategy: we can make use of the power of the sea while supporting sustainable growth and jobs.

“This visit demonstrates a highly integrated European sector and technological progress. In its aim to provide clean energy for all Europeans, the Commission is committed to long term ambitious objectives on renewables where ocean energy should take its part.”

Rémi Gruet, Chief Executive, Ocean Energy Europe, added: “Europe leads the world in ocean energy technology development, and we’ve seen more proof of that today from the developers and their supply chain partners testing at EMEC.

“Support from EU and national governments has played a pivotal role in these successes, and helped leverage private finance into the sector. With continued support, ocean energy can become a new manufacturing industry based firmly in Europe.”

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