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Latest round of WATERS funding announced

24 March 2015

£3.7million to further test and develop new marine energy prototypes

Scotland’s marine energy sector has benefited from WATERS funding of almost £3.7million to further test and develop new marine energy prototypes in the seas around Scotland.

Awards have been made to three companies – Albatern, Nova Innovation and Sustainable Marine Energy – to support total project costs of £7million for the development of new wave & tidal energy devices.

This is the third round from the remaining competitive funding from the initial WATERS fund, which was developed in conjunction with Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It follows the success of the first two rounds of WATERS where six marine energy developers benefitted from £7.1m of WATERS funding towards total project costs of £15 million to further develop testing of new marine energy prototypes.

Welcoming the announcement Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working hard to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the low-carbon economy.

“WATERS is designed to foster a culture of innovation and research and development and I am very pleased that as well as supporting two Scottish ocean power companies [Albatern and Nova Innovation], we are assisting a third from the Isle of Wight [Sustainable Marine Energy] to set up a production hub in Scotland. I am determined that we make the most of the clean, secure and abundant energy stored in the waters around our coasts and these three companies are developing pioneering technologies to help us do that.”

The three successful projects are:

* Albatern has been awarded £1.8m towards a total project cost of £3.5 million for the build and demonstration of a larger Squid device. Albatern is specifically targeting off-grid markets such as aquaculture and community scale projects and the WATERS3 project will build on the company’s success to date in this field.

* Nova Innovation has been awarded £573k towards a total project cost of £998k for direct drive tidal turbine development and demonstration. The innovative direct drive generator will increase the efficiency and reliability of tidal turbines, reducing the cost of energy by 20%, and increasing the commercial returns available to Nova Innovation’s customers. Nova developed the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine in 2014 at North Yell in Shetland and will test the technology associated with the WATERS3 award at its consented site in Bluemull Sound, Shetland.

* Sustainable Marine Energy has been awarded funding of £1.3m towards a total project cost of £2.5m for an array demonstrator project. The company is establishing a operational and production hub in Scotland as a result of the funding to develop its innovative PLAT-O tidal energy platform technology. This enables multiple turbines operating in mid-water to share a common infrastructure.

Welcoming the awards, Calum Davidson, Director of energy and low carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "We welcome the announcement of the WATERS 3 funding and warmly congratulate each of the successful companies. The Highlands and Islands already boasts an enviable international reputation in the development of marine renewable energy. This is underlined by today’s announcement of another company investing in our region and offering significant supply chain opportunities.

"This latest round of funding will back the development of the marine energy industry across Scotland and further support the deployment of devices at the European Marine Energy Centre and throughout Scottish waters."

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise added: “Scotland is playing a key role in the development of marine energy at a global level, with the sector offering significant opportunities for our companies.

“By taking key technologies to the next stage of commercial exploitation, this latest round of WATERS funding will help create more opportunities and support the growth of the sector.”

David Campbell, Chief Financial Officer at Albatern, welcomed the support that their project was receiving. He said: “This new project builds on the learning from the current wave energy units that we have deployed in Scottish waters. It seeks to develop a scalable product range to enable wave energy projects for larger island populations across the globe with bigger waves and increased power requirements.”

Simon Forrest, Managing Director of Nova Innovation, said: “Nova Innovation is committed to driving down the cost of tidal power through innovation. Our direct drive generator is more reliable and efficient than a conventional geared drive train; this increases the energy generated by our turbines and reduces operating costs. The impact is a 20% reduction in lifetime cost of energy and increasing commercial return for our customers.

“This product was originally developed with the help of a Scottish Enterprise SMART award, and has benefited from a Scottish Enterprise funded Knowledge Exchange partnership with the University of Edinburgh. This as an excellent example of public funding in Scotland supporting Scottish companies to bring innovative ideas from the drawing board to the market.”

Jason Hayman, Managing Director at Sustainable Marine Energy, said: “We are very encouraged by the support and commitment that the Scottish Government is giving to the tidal energy sector and that it recognises the significant cost reductions that the next generation of tidal energy systems can deliver. The support from WATERS3 enables us to continue our scalable and modular approach to development and ultimately to deliver commercially viable tidal energy using our platform technology, PLAT-O.

“The PLAT-O system has been developed with the support of DECC & Innovate UK, which has enabled the design, build and testing of a 100kW prototype. The prototype demonstrates that costs associated with the installation and maintenance of tidal energy systems can be significantly reduced. The funding for WATERS3 will facilitate us to deliver a larger commercial demonstrator, which will be deployed in an array alongside the prototype.

“The array demonstration project is a major step towards proving the commercial viability of PLAT-O. The support enables us to set up operations and production in Scotland that will be utilised to produce PLAT-Os systems to build array capacity and roll out our technology nationwide.”

  • WATERS 3 is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


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