Scotland, and in particular the Highlands and Islands, is continuing to lead the world in the development of marine energy devices – according to the Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Alex Paterson is opening the annual Scottish Renewables Marine Energy Conference at Eden Court, Inverness on Monday (16 September).
Up to 300 delegates and 45 exhibitors will be at the two-day conference.
Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP will deliver a ministerial address and the annual Saltire Prize Lecture will be presented by Professor Fraenkel MBE.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE, said: “We are delighted that the Highlands and Islands has again been chosen to host Scotland’s largest marine energy conference. Scotland, and the Highlands and Islands in particular are leading the world in marine energy development and deployment.
“It is great to see the industry developing with major investment in the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) as well as in ports and harbours around the Highlands and Islands. More wave and tidal energy devices are currently deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney than at any other single site in the world. Scotland also has more marine energy projects under way or in planning than any other country.”
The coastlines around Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, the Outer Hebrides and Argyll have some of the best natural resources in the world and they are all playing host to marine developers.
Not only does Scotland maintain the world lead in marine renewables, the marine energy industry supports 500 jobs in Scotland, with EMEC alone supporting 190 Scottish jobs and 110 of those are in Orkney. Furthermore, technology developers involved in the wave and tidal sector in the UK have attracted significant inward investment and further investments have been made by supply chain companies in response to sector needs.
Scotland is home to some of the most advanced wave and tidal technology developers in the world, including Pelamis Wave Power, Aquamarine Power, and Scotrenewables.
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Making large scale marine energy projects a reality is going to require us to take all of the natural ingredients Scotland has at its fingertips and ensure that, with the right people in place, we can bring it all together and produce a truly sustainable, world class marine energy sector.
“This conference, exhibition and dinner will be a unique opportunity for leading industry figures, public sector representatives, investors and academics to put their heads together to find the best way forward for the sector.”
Mr Paterson continued: "There are many challenges such as funding, grid connections, technology and consents which HIE is working on with our partners at Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International, and local authorities to overcome, in order to maintain Scotland as a marine renewables world-leader and to make sure that this industry succeeds.
“Scotland can only maintain its global lead in this industry if we continue to support and invest in the sector. That’s why we are committed – with our public sector partners - to supporting infrastructure projects across our region. We are determined to support local supply chain companies that will be required for this developing sector and we want to attract inward investment and sell Scotland’s expertise globally.
“Now we need to ensure that we secure lasting benefits for Scotland's economy and communities - a legacy that will provide a sustainable energy source for our future generations."