The European Marine Energy Centre today (Tuesday, July 31) welcomed the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker to its world-leading facilities in Orkney as part of a governmental visit to the region.
EMEC – the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world – provided the minister with an extensive insight into the unprecedented marine renewable activity taking place across the Orkney Islands, including a boat tour of its wave test site.
The Energy and Climate Change Minister was on an official visit to Thurso in Caithness to launch the new Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park, a Government-led initiative to heighten the international profile of the region and the UK’s reputation as a world leader in marine energy.
Accompanied by the Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing, and Neil Kermode, EMEC’s managing director, the ministers were taken by boat to the centre’s wave test site at Billia Croo where they observed the innovative operations and the latest technology currently deployed in Orkney waters.
The ministers also met with representatives from marine renewable developer companies currently testing at EMEC – Seatricity, Wello, Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power, Scotrenewables and Tidal Generation Ltd – who each showcased their devices and discussed the requirements to develop commercial-scale technologies which harness power from the sea.
Mr Kermode says: “There are more full-scale devices in the sea here than at any other single site in the world and we are extremely pleased that the ministers took time to come to Orkney as part of their official visit to see these machines operating up close.
“EMEC is the world’s only test laboratory for full-scale wave and tidal energy converters. As a result, it is hosting most of the cutting-edge technologies in this field and has developed a wealth of experience to inform the sector.
“The UK is at the vanguard of the world race to develop and deploy wave and tidal energy converters. The scale of activity is envied elsewhere and real progress is being made due, in no small part, to consistent support by the Government over a number of years.
“The new marine energy park further cements the UK’s global-leading position in wave and tidal renewables and will support the developers coming to test here, spurring further investment and growth in the industry, and enable the Highland and Islands, and the rest of the UK, to harness the significant economic benefit that is already being realised in Orkney.
“As a Government-led initiative, the recognition of the Highlands and Islands as a marine renewables hub demonstrates the vital drive to bring benefits to coastal communities, and to exploit these sustainable, carbon-free energy sources for the nation.”
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “This area is already a vital part of the marine industry and it’s easy to see why, with its high tidal stream and wave resource. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to visit EMEC’s test sites to see the technologies at work in the waters and meet the developers involved in these innovative projects here in Orkney.
“The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park will help to drive the industry forward by drawing together local knowledge and expertise in research, development and manufacturing of marine energy renewables, helping spur on growth in this green clean source of power.”
Press Release, July 31, 2012