A forward looking private, public and community sector partnership which will drive the growth of marine energy in Shetland will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday 16 November) at the inaugural Dynamic Shetland green energy event.
European energy company Vattenfall, the Shetland Islands Council and the Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT), with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will sign a memorandum of understanding in Lerwick today (Tuesday, 15 November).
The partnership will develop a roadmap for ocean energy development around the Islands. The initial focus will be on the development of a ten megawatt pilot wave project already proposed off the west coast of Shetland.
The partnership will also gain invaluable first hand experience of developing a wave farm off Shetland's coast. This experience will inform a strategy to enable the whole Shetland community to capture the economic and social benefits of its sizeable ocean energy potential and the planned electricity cable to the Scottish mainland.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney, said: "I am delighted to announce this partnership agreement between Vattenfall, Shetland Islands Council and Shetland Islands Charitable Trust, with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to work together to ensure the Island's community benefits from the immense potential from marine energy.
"This partnership is the first of its kind in this new and burgeoning industry with the focus on helping the entire Shetland community capture the economic and social benefits of its sizeable marine energy resource. This partnership is a unique opportunity to work with a major European player to benefit marine energy in Shetland and to encourage the development of this emerging industry, for the benefit of everyone, from the start."
Veijo Huusko, Managing Director of Ocean Energy at Vattenfall, said: "The Shetland Islands maritime history and experience with large offshore oil and gas development, makes the Islands a great choice for ocean energy development. The work that the community has done to develop and plan their marine environment is very impressive. This partnership is a unique opportunity to work closely with the community to plan the sustainable development from the start of this emerging industry."
Speaking on behalf of the Shetland Islands Council, Political Leader Councillor Josie Simpson, said: "We are very keen for the community to participate and benefit financially from the development of Shetland's ocean energy resources. Our track record with oil and gas is well known. We are determined to ensure the community is involved at a very early stage to maximise the benefit to the community of marine renewables."
Bill Manson, Chairman of the Shetland Charitable Trust, said: "The Trust is delighted to participate in this agreement and share in the information regarding this project, which it hopes and expects will be the start of a new opportunity for Shetland in the development of marine energy resources."
Commenting on the industry and employment potential of ocean energy in Shetland, Stuart Robertson from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, commented: "It is very clear that wave and tidal energy could be a significant new marine industry, with the promise of significant jobs and investment, particularly in locations such as Shetland with a strong offshore and industrial base".