The SEL will be a ‘virtual’ hub for national and international companies to identify and access the most appropriate of Scotland’s test and demonstration assets for their technologies.
This asset network has a combined investment value of some £250 million across all key energy sectors and includes the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, the Hydrogen Office in Fife and the European Offshore Wind Power Development Centre in Aberdeen which recently secured a €40m grant from the European Union.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced the move as he co-chaired the latest meeting, in Edinburgh, of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, which has proved instrumental in creating the SEL. He said:
"Scotland has unrivalled renewable energy resources and an internationally-renowned research, development & demonstration (R, D&D) capability. Recent inward investments in offshore wind energy R&D by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Spain’s Gamesa, as well as ABB’s investment in Edinburgh-based wave energy developer Aquamarine, are testament to this. Offshore wind farm alone offers huge economic rewards, with over £100 billion of investment planned across the UK over the next 10 years and Scotland already well-placed to gain a significant share.
"I am delighted to announce and formally launch the Scottish Energy Laboratory – an exiting new opportunity to strengthen our international reach by promoting Scotland’s integrated energy R, D&D capability on the global stage. It will support companies to develop, test and commercialise the technologies required to tackle climate change, strengthen energy security and help accelerate the delivery of a low carbon economy. This development has emerged from the discussions and valuable work undertaken by the expert members of the Energy Advisory Board and I’m sure it will help attract further significant investments that maintain Scotland’s leading position in the global development of low carbon technologies."
The SEL provides Scotland with a new competitive advantage by presenting a clear, coherent offering of the country’s key energy test and demonstration capabilities to national and international companies. It will also work with the individual centres to help co-ordinate activities, utilise assets more efficiently, help reduce risks in new product development and encourage future investment in energy technologies.
As well as assisting energy technology developers to identify and access test & demonstration facilities that best meet their needs, SEL will help firms seeking services, resources and partners for the subsequent development and commercialisation of their technology.
The SEL will enhance the support environment for innovative energy technologies and plays an important role in the delivery of the Scottish Government’s low Carbon economic strategy. The SEL is a key element within the low carbon technology hubs being developed by the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) – an alliance of Scottish Universities currently engaged in world class energy research. The SEL is supported by the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Island Enterprise, Scottish Development International, the Energy Technology Partnership and the Scottish Government.
Prof Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde and Scottish Energy Advisory Board co-chair, said:
"The co-ordination of Scotland’s key energy test and demonstration facilities, coupled with our world-class energy research base within the Energy Technology Partnership, will lead to an internationally competitive advantage. Scotland’s ability to translate leading research ideas in energy into new devices, technologies and systems should greatly enhance the economic value of our core strengths".
Adrian Gillespie, Senior Director of Energy and Low Carbon Technologies, Scottish Enterprise, said:
"The Scottish Energy Laboratory provides an exciting new springboard for Scotland to promote its world class offering in the crucial field of energy test and demonstration. Already we have established a reputation globally for research and expertise across emerging energy fields and this collaborative approach to test and demonstration will further enhance that reputation by providing a one-stop shop for companies to access our range of facilities."
Calum Davidson, HIE’s Director of Key Sectors & Inward Investment, added:
"A critical component of the Scottish Energy Lab is the European Marine Energy Centre, the world’s first, grid connected, test centre for full scale wave and tidal devices. Operational in Orkney since 2004, EMEC is central to Scotland’s global lead in marine renewables, and along with Scotland’s leading wider energy research and test facilities, will ensure the sector has the best support to develop and commercialise new renewable technologies. Through the SEL, the international recognition of such world leading facilities will be greatly enhanced."