The marine energy sector is to benefit from £6 million in funding to further develop testing of new wave and tidal energy prototypes in the seas around Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise is launching the third round of the remaining competitive funding from the initial WATERS fund in collaboration with Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
This latest round follows the success of WATERS 1 and 2 where six marine energy developers benefitted from £14.8 million funding to further develop testing of new wave and tidal prototypes in the seas around Scotland.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing made the announcement on a visit to tidal energy developer, Oceanflow Development Limited, as it prepares to load out its second generation tidal energy device Evopod on to a vessel on the River Cart in Renfrew, ahead of it being taken for testing in Sanda Sound south of Campbeltown. The development of the Evopod was supported by £560,000 in the first round of WATERS funding.
To reduce the cost of developing wave and tidal technologies, the WATERS 3 call will promote research and development activities in Scotland aimed at bringing leading marine energy devices to commercial application and enable Scottish developers and supply chain companies to capture an increased share of the growing UK, European and global marine energy market.
Welcoming the launch whilst on a visit to Westway Park in Renfrew Mr Ewing said:
“Scotland is leading the world in the development of marine renewable energy. We are at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technology with some of the world’s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources heavily concentrated in the waters around our country. I am excited today to see firsthand the investment made by Scottish Government in the development of Ocean Flow prototype and the launch of this device.
“This latest funding round follows the success of our earlier WATERS support to help developers bring their devices to full-scale testing. The WATERS complements our other funding initiatives and incentives we have in place such as the £18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the Saltire Prize.
“Our ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sector remains great. We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence and the Scottish Government is determined to support those within the industry.”
Graeme Mackie, Managing Director of Oceanflow, said: “Scotland with its strong tidal stream resource was the obvious place to test our semi-submerged Evopod turbine and securing the WATERS grant support from Scottish Enterprise made it all possible. There is tremendous potential for this type of renewable power technology both in Scotland and overseas and we are looking forward to hooking up the word’s first grid-connected semi-submerged turbine in Scottish waters later this year.”
Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and low carbon technologies at Scottish Enterprise said: “This latest round of funding will ensure we can help advanced wave and tidal technologies reach the next stage of commercial exploitation. It will develop new technologies with global potential, R&D jobs, and secure the fabrication and deployment of wave and tidal stream technologies in Scotland.”
Calum Davidson, Director for Energy and Low Carbon at HIE, said: “The opportunities from Scotland’s outstanding natural resources are immense and we must continue to support renewable energy companies who are getting close to commercialisation now. HIE welcomes this latest round of funding opportunities which will assist developers to bring their devices to market and realise their ambitions sooner in the emerging global marine market.”
Press release, April 3, 2014; Image: Scottish Government