North Scotland World Leader in Wave, Tidal Technology
The designation of the Pentland Firth and Orkney area as a Marine Energy Park confirms what those of us in the industry already know – the north of Scotland is a world leader in wave and tidal technology.
Over the last decade, supportive government policies and the establishment of the European Marine Energy Centre have made the north of the UK the global epicentre of ocean energy.
Already more than 25 marine energy leases have been awarded in Scotland and the coming years will see leading companies developing the first small wave farms as the industry moves towards commercialisation.
The new Marine Energy Park status will further strengthen the region’s reputation and it is anticipated that it will help accelerate the industry’s ambitions for commercialisation of the technologies as well as investment in the sector.
This recognition has come from the UK Government, but it will be down to local bodies, including the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Leadership Forum, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, developers and the wider industry to make the most of this prestigious new status.
Collaboration with the sister park in the South West of England will also be key. Capitalising on the new marine energy park designation would ensure that new investors are brought on board to develop commercial products and put project equity into the first small wave farms.
New ways are needed to encourage investment within the park, such as tax incentives and accelerated capital allowances. There should also be a focus on securing regional, national and European funding to speed up technology development and support early stage projects. This funding could include European regional support and early access to the Green Investment Bank.
The UK and Scottish governments have both offered tremendous support to this industry in its first decade.
Offshore WIND staff, August 1, 2012; Image: Aquamarine Power