Consortium Aims to Reduce the Cost of Scotland’s Marine Renewables Development

Scotland’s marine energy sector will be worth £50 billion by 2050.
Published: Thu 02 Oct 2014

The Orion Energy Centre (OEC) in Inverness, Scotland, has joined a consortium which is aims to reduce the costs of developing the marine renewables sector.

While the sector is making some progress, experts say that its development remains decades behind other forms of renewables as it still requires massive funding and significant amounts of research. It will certainly take some time to catch up to solar and wind power development. [Engerati – Time to Put Wave Energy Back on the Power Map.]

Tension Technology International (TTI) is leading the nine-company consortium with the aim of engineering a low-cost anchor bag and mooring line system that would be designed for a "wide range" of floating marine energy solutions. After scale-model wave tank tests of complete mooring spreads at OEC, which will be filmed with a new 6D camera tracking system to measure the performance of the systems and their buoy dynamics, prototypes will be built for trials at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkneys.

Members of the £1.8m (US$2.9m) project's team include Bluewater Services, University of Exeter, Bridon International, Vryhof Engineering, TenCate Geosynthetics, Pelamis Wave Power and DNV GL.

"As project leaders we are very excited to be working in close cooperation with OEC and other partners," says TTI managing director Stephen Banfield. "Being located in the Highlands of Scotland provides an important hub for the project while our consortium is able to tap into the expertise and marine renewable energy heritage associated with this state-of-the-art testing facility."

Scotland invests heavily in its marine energy sector

Scotland's wave and tidal energy sector has invested over £217 million to date and £31.8 million in the last year. This is according to Scottish Renewables’ Marine Milestones report. The report, taken from responses from 17 organisations working in the sector, found almost 62% of the industry's supply chain is Scottish. Scottish Renewables forecasts the marine energy sector will be worth £50 billion by 2050.

Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for offshore renewables at Scottish Renewables, said: “Wave and tidal energy is still very much the renewables new kid on the block but the opportunities it presents are enormous, particularly for Scotland. “These investment figures, revealed for the first time by our Marine Milestones report, show the significant economic benefits this young sector is bringing.

“Crucially, those benefits are staying local, benefiting communities and families who are looking to renewables for a sustainable future, both economically and environmentally.”

Commenting on the report, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It may be a relatively young industry but news that wave and tidal energy is already worth hundreds of millions to Scotland's economy bodes really well for the future. Having visited the marine renewables testing facility on Orkney, I've seen first-hand the positive contribution the industry is making there. I hope it won't be long before similar benefits are replicated in many more communities right around Scotland.”

Scotland’s impressive marine energy achievements

The Marine Milestones report points to other key developments which have been launched over the last year:

  • FloWave TT, the only test centre of its kind in the world, opened in Edinburgh
  • The Crown Estate released four new sites for commercial and demonstration projects

  • MayGen, the world’s largest tidal stream development, secured a funding package to build the first phase of a ground-breaking project. MayGen also achieved onshore and offshore planning consent during the year.

Impressive milestones include Aquamarine Power’s Oyster 800 device which clocked up three full winters at sea, enduring waves of over 60 feet, a world first, and Pelamis’ two P2 machines delivering wave power to the grid for almost 59 weeks.

FloWave TT, the only test centre of its kind in the world, opened in Edinburgh, the Crown Estate released four new sites for commercial and demonstration projects, and MeyGen, the world's largest tidal stream development, secured a funding package to construct the first phase of a ground-breaking project. MeyGen also achieved onshore and offshore planning consent during the year.

Other milestones saw Aquamarine Power's Oyster 800 device clocking up three full winters at sea, braving waves of more than 60ft - a world first - and Pelamis' two P2 machines delivering wave power to the grid for 10,000 hours, or nearly 59 weeks.

Ms Leask said: "Scotland already leads the world in the development of these audacious, innovative machines, and maintaining that position at the front of the global pack is something we believe is worthy of continued government support."
 

Further reading

Scottish Renewables – Marine Milestones Report 2013/14 [pdf]