Scottish Government to Speed Up Wave Energy Technology Development
Scotland is to establish a wave energy technology development body to encourage innovation in the industry, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing has announced.
Wave Energy Scotland will bring together the best engineering and academic minds to collaborate in a research and development programme to accelerate wave technology further.
Mr Ewing will provide more detail on Wave Energy Scotland during a Parliamentary statement on marine energy which he plans to make next week.
The Scottish Government recognises that early stage technologies, such as wave energy, can take time to flourish.
The development of wave energy has also been hampered by the uncertainty facing the energy sector more widely, following the lengthy and delayed changes to the electricity market resulting from the UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform process.
Given that uncertainty, it is not surprising that investors are presently reluctant to commit to higher risk marine technologies. In spite of generous support for the sector from the Scottish Government, the lack of private capital has seriously hampered the progress of both wave and tidal energy developers.
Fergus Ewing said:
“With the extraordinary ocean energy resources off Scotland’s coasts, our belief in the future success of wave energy is undiminished.
“Now is the right time to consider the future of our support for wave energy in Scotland. This is a young industry and we still have a lot of learning to do in marine renewables.
“We want to encourage further innovation in wave energy development and we recognise the need for a bold new approach to supporting this emerging technology. There is also a lack of design convergence in wave energy with many different concepts in development, while tidal appears to be converging on a front-runner design.
“This means that while the tidal energy sector is ready to build array demonstration projects – the MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth is one such example – the wave energy sector must evolve further to gain the confidence of investors.
“With Wave Energy Scotland, we are proposing a fresh and collaborative way to accelerate wave technology development. The best minds in industry and academia will work together to develop technologies that can be commercialised by the private sector.
“The Scottish Government and its enterprise bodies are absolutely committed to supporting the development of the wave and tidal sectors to unlock the potential of our seas.
“Marine energy is an important part of our renewable energy portfolio offering real economic opportunities for Scotland.”
Press release; Image: flickr