The marine and tidal energy sector is to benefit from £6 million in funding to further develop testing of new wave and tidal prototypes in the seas around Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise is launching a second round of the remaining competitive funding from the initial WATERS £13 million fund, launched in March 2010.
To reduce the cost of developing wave and tidal technologies, the WATERS 2 call will promote research and development activities in Scotland aimed at bringing low-cost-energy marine energy devices to commercial application. The call is open to receive proposals from Monday 13 February 2012 (application details can be found in Notes to Editors).
First Minister Alex Salmond said, "Scotland is leading the world in the development of marine renewable energy. A wide range of both Scottish firms and major overseas companies such as Alstom, ABB, E.ON, Vattenfall and Kawasaki are investing in the development and testing of wave and tidal generation technologies in Scottish waters. It is increasingly clear that Scotland rules the waves!
"However, we will continue to work with our enterprise agencies, SDI and the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, to provide the optimum conditions for wave and tidal developers to pioneer the commercial generation of clean, green energy from our seas and oceans.
"This latest funding round follows the success of our earlier WATERS support to help developers bring their devices to full-scale testing. In addition, we have also announced an £18 million fund for those companies now the verge of commercial deployment, to develop their prototype devices and forge ahead with the development of commercially viable arrays."
Alex Paterson, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise said, "The Highlands and Islands are already leading the world in marine energy development. We have seen the deployment of a growing number of innovative wave and tidal devices at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The announcement of WATERS 2 today will enable developers to further their research and development towards the deployment of arrays, particularly in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters."
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise commented, "With £6 million to award, we can help advanced wave and tidal technologies reach the next stage of commercial exploitation - creating new technologies with global potential, R&D jobs, and secure the fabrication and deployment of wave and tidal stream technologies in Scotland.
"Over the past couple of years we have committed over £19 million from Scottish Enterprise to marine energy development - through our WATERS and WATERS 2 calls, and working in partnership with other public bodies, such as our investment in the Technology Strategy Board's Marine Energy collaborative R&D call last month."
The overall aim of the WATERS 2 funding is to enable Scottish developers and supply chain companies to capture an increased share of the growing UK, European and global marine energy market, which could realise £4 billion for Scotland's economy by 2020.
Developing these emerging marine and tidal technologies is extremely challenging, with the environments in which they need to be installed and operated challenging in themselves. Development costs are therefore high, with many companies balancing developing and readying their technologies with the need to pursue and raise investment capital to keep their businesses and devices afloat.
WATERS 2 funding can play a vital role in attracting match funding for these technologies, particularly for the demonstration projects which are vital to the sector's credibility and longer term growth, and establishing Scotland as a leader in wave and tidal energy development.
WATERS 2 is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Companies based in Scotland and Scottish subsidiaries of overseas companies are invited to submit project proposals that will advance low-cost-of-energy wave and tidal devices. Priority will be given to applications that support viable projects enabling full-scale proving of devices that have already been tested at part-scale, but smaller demonstration projects will also be considered.
The WATERS 2 fund's primary focus is in supporting the deployment in Scottish waters of wave and tidal stream energy prototypes, the fund will also:
• Support the deployment of wave and tidal stream energy technologies, both at the European Marine Energy Centre and elsewhere in Scottish waters;
• Provide progress for successful projects and prototypes towards commercial exploitation;
• Support advances in cost reduction and learning for wave and tidal stream technologies;
• Lever additional private sector investment in the marine renewables sector.
The fund will be open to businesses that are legal entities registered or planning to register in Scotland, including Scottish subsidiaries of overseas companies.
The call will welcome applications from projects in a position to move quickly and can be completed by end of March 2014.
The fund opens for applications on Monday 13 February 2012. For more information, visit http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/your-sector/energy/energy-how-we-can-help/energy-funding/Wave-and-Tidal-Energy-Fund.aspx
The £6 million funding for WATERS 2 (the second call in the WATERS programme) makes use of Scottish Enterprise's WATERS budget and is part funded by European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) through the Highlands & Islands and Lowland and Upper Scotland Programmes 2007-13.
Four innovative marine energy projects across Scotland are already progressing towards commercial success following initial WATERS awards made last year:.
• £3.15 million to Aquamarine Power for its next Oyster device
• £1.85 million to Open Hydro to develop its tidal devices
• £1.39 million to AWS Ocean Energy for its plans to test a 'doughnut'-shaped wave energy converter in Loch Ness and the Cromarty Firth
• £560,000 to Ocean Flow Energy to build and deploy a 35 kW floating grid connected to a tidal energy converter in Sanda Sound, South Kintyre.
A fifth project, which had been earmarked for WATERS funding, has not yet proceeded and was unable to draw down the funding offer.
The wave and tidal energy sector is a key part of Scotland's world-leading renewables industry. Key industry announcements in the last fortnight include:
:: The UK Technology Strategy Board's decision to headquarter its 'Catapult' innovation centre for offshore renewables (wind, wave and tidal) in Glasgow's International Technology & Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ).
:: South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries decision to base its first European offshore wind project in Fife in an inward venture worth up to £100m that is expected to create more than 500 new jobs in Scotland.
:: The securing of a £5m+ contract between Glasgow-based Gaia-Wind and renewable energy provider Myriad CEG Power to provide almost 200 Gaia-Wind 133-11kW small wind turbines for installation in England and Wales.