Scottish marine energy urged to pool resources

Marine energy experts north of the border have heard they need to pool resources if Scotland is to maintain its lead in wet renewables.

Speaking at the Scottish Renewables conference, Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, said he believes Scotland has a golden opportunity to turn thousands of miles of its coastline into a multi-billion pound industry. He added that Scotland risks losing out to other countries unless experts in the field share knowledge on how to advance what is a fledging industry north of the Border.

‘The problem with gaining practical experience is it isn’t cheap and it isn’t quick,’ he said. ‘However, the alternative of never-ending study and research face the same criticisms.

‘The focus needs to be on how to both bring existing knowledge to bear on problems and effectively support innovation to achieve accelerated progress.’

The conference was sponsored by Scottish Enterprise, and Brian Nixon, the RDA’s head of energy, said he believes marine energy has the potential to be an incredibly lucrative sector for Scotland.

He said: ‘Scotland has the ball at its feet when it comes to marine energy. We have all the right ingredients to become a world leader in this sector.

‘Scotland has some of the best academics in this field, the natural resources and, of course, industrial supply chain expertise in oil and gas which would be easily transferable to wave and tidal power.

‘Marine energy certainly has the potential to be incredibly lucrative for Scotland if all the building blocks are put in place.’

The Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) estimates that with the correct policy framework, infrastructure and market conditions the marine energy industry could install 1.3GW of electricity by 2020 from wave and tidal stream capacity in Scotland.

Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: ‘Scotland’s coastline stretches for hundreds of miles and offers huge potential for the marine energy industry.

‘We have a fantastic opportunity in Scotland to not only to achieve our own environmental targets but also to do with wave and tidal power what Denmark has done with wind – create a 25,000-job industry that exports its expertise worldwide.

‘The European Marine Energy Centre could be the world’s test bed for wave and tidal stream technologies and in doing so it will place Scotland at the heart of this exciting new industrial sector.’