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Conference marks 50 years of energy in the Highlands and Islands

15 September 2015

Building on the success of 50 years of energy in the Highlands and Islands will be at the heart of the Marine Energy Conference in Inverness this week.

Developing wave and tidal energy projects and technologies have been a northern Scotland success story for 20 years.

In its 50th Anniversary year, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is working again with Scottish Renewables to bring Scotland’s largest dedicated Marine Renewable conference to Inverness for the sixth year.

This year has seen the establishment of Wave Energy Scotland, focused on delivering continuing wave technology success from Scotland’s wide industrial and academic experience; and the building out of the world’s first multi turbine tidal arrays in Caithness and Shetland. Both are bringing real commercial and research benefits to the Highlands and Islands.

Calum Davidson, HIE’s director of energy and low carbon, said:

“Energy projects and in particular marine energy developments are at the heart of the expansion of the renewable energy industry in the Highlands and Islands. This conference will showcase to an international audience how Scotland, over 20 years, has taken a fledgling industry focussed on R&D through to full stage testing at EMEC in Orkney, and is now using that knowledge and experience to build out the first commercial scale projects. It’s not all been plain sailing, there have been many bumps on the way, but now we are seeing major on-shore and off-shore contracts being delivered by our experienced local supply chain.”

Working in partnership with Scottish Renewables, HIE sees the conference as an important opportunity to share knowledge and expertise across the marine energy sector.

Mr Davidson added:

“It’s only twelve months since HIE was asked to set up Wave Energy Scotland by the Scottish Government, and already WES has awarded £7million of contracts to development teams and is planning a major set of contract awards next month. In addition, MeyGen is making good progress with their on-shore and off-shore works in Caithness with their initial four cables planned for installation this week. The project is a great example of partnership working between the public and private sector in rural Scotland, a model pioneered in the setting up of HIE’s predecessor, the Highlands and Islands Development Board, in 1965 as Europe’s first regional development agency.”

The conference takes place over two days at Eden Court Theatre. Sessions include how projects are to be funded in the future, updates on current projects and technology plus discussions on the role Europe plays in the development of ocean energy technology.

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