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Highlands and Islands set to take centre stage at the UK’s largest renewable energy event

20 May 2013

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland is set to take centre stage at the All-Energy exhibition and conference in Aberdeen this week (Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd May).

Over 70 companies will come together under the banner of HI-Energy to showcase the region’s world-leading renewable energy expertise and supply chain capabilities. The HI-energy zone will once again represent the largest regional presence at the show, with exhibitors from across the Highlands and Islands including pavilions from Orkney, Shetland, Caithness and Argyll.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) manages the over-arching HI-energy pavilion on behalf of the region’s energy industry to ensure the area’s extensive renewable energy offerings are promoted, including its leading role in offshore renewables, experienced supply chain and world-class facilities.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Orkney.  The test centre remains the world’s only grid-connected, independently accredited test centre for both wave and tidal energy devices.  The growth and development of the centre over the last decade has generated £120m for the Scottish economy, of which £57m was in Orkney alone.

HIE’s Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Calum Davidson said: “All-Energy is one of the most important events of the year for us and our companies. Once again the Highlands and Islands is taking the largest regional presence and it is great to know that as well as the huge number exhibiting in the pavilion, we also have those who are coming to walk the floor and meet potential buyers and suppliers.

“This year is extra special, with the celebration of EMEC’s 10th birthday.  At HIE we are proud to support the company and all that it has achieved in the last 10 years.  The level of interest that the facility continues to attract from all corners of the earth is hugely significant and with strategic agreements in place with a number of other organisations world-wide to export their knowledge; the EMEC brand is truly a global one, and EMEC will remain as the key driver for the Scottish and growing global marine renewable industry”.

”The Highlands and Islands has been home to some important announcements since All-Energy 2012, all of which are creating significant progress in offshore wind projects on our east and west coasts, and major investment in infrastructure across the region. We have a huge number of companies who are at the forefront of energy research, development and supply chain expertise and this is recognised internationally.”

As part of the two-day exhibition, HIE in conjunction with EMEC, is holding a networking event at the end of the first day, celebrating the test facility’s anniversary.  Short presentations will be given by HIE’s Chairman, Lorne Crerar and EMEC’s Managing Director, Neil Kermode, to highlight the achievements of the wave and tidal industry over the last 10 years. 

Mr Kermode said: “EMEC simply wouldn't be here without HIE. They showed the vision, the drive and the determination to make it happen in 2002. They helped gather the participants and have helped steer a path past, or over, the innumerable hurdles faced ever since. That there are approximately 250 jobs in Orkney in this sector today is testament to their work and that of the other public sector funders.

“But EMEC, and marine energy in general, must remain 'work in progress'. We will not sit on our laurels and I know HIE will not either. So marking this milestone is a fantastic opportunity to say 'thank you' to everybody who has contributed to date, but it is back to work tomorrow to redouble our efforts. I am just glad HIE is alongside us.”

The Highlands and Islands’ leading role in the renewables sector will be woven throughout the two-day conference, and senior representatives from HIE will be speaking at the conference. On day one, Mr Davidson will consider “how to meet the marine energy challenge - how supply chain innovation is enabling early array deployment”, whilst on day two, Gavin MacKay of HIE’s Energy Team will speak about major projects under a session related to the grid.

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