Marine energy action plan

The plan outlines progress made since the launch of the 2009 Marine Energy Road Map and makes recommendations to help improve access to finance, grid development, infrastructure and supply chain, the planning regime and engagement with Europe, to ensure Scotland and other nations seize the huge potential for clean energy from the world’s seas and oceans.

Progress in the marine energy sector since 2009, highlighted in today’s Action Plan, include:

Exclusivity agreements to develop 1.6 GW of marine energy capacity off the north Scottish coast in the world’s first commercial wave and tidal leasing round

Additional leasing opportunities (23 of 28 UK leased areas in Scotland) through demonstration sites and rounds to support competitors in 10 million Saltire Prize

11 pioneering wave and tidal devices deployed/in process of deployment at European Marine Energy Centre EMEC – the world’s first fully-accredited, grid-connected wave and tidal test facility – with a further three to deploy by 2014

Significant industrial investments in developer technologies from major global power engineering conglomerates ABB, Alstom, Rolls Royce and Siemens.

Consent for world’s largest consented tidal stream project, ScottishPower Renewables-Andritz Hydro Hammerfest 10-megawatt tidal stream project near Islay

Opening of world’s first fully commercial wave power plant, Mutriku breakwater power plant in Spain, using Voith Hydro Wavegen’s Scottish technology, developed and demonstrated in grid-connected operation at LIMPET on Islay.

The blueprint from the industry-led Marine Energy Group (MEG), has been launched ahead of First Minister Alex Salmond welcoming political leaders and ministers to the 18th British-Irish Council summit in Stirling tomorrow, where support for wave and tidal power is on the agenda.

Mr Salmond said:

"The British-Irish Council summit takes place at an important time for the marine energy sector. The waters around our islands, and off Scotland’s coast in particular, offer some of the world’s greatest marine energy resources. The Council has rightly placed a specific focus on marine energy in its work programme, which the Scottish Government is proud to lead.

"The new Action Plan highlights the great progress made to date, particularly in the last three years since the Road Map was published. Importantly, it outlines the steps now required to be taken by governments, public agencies and the private sector to realise the industry’s ambitions. It makes clear that grid development remains a priority for the industry and that must include a fair system of transmission charging for renewables generation in the islands.

"The Marine Energy Group, rightly, also encourages the Scottish and UK Governments to continue our engagement with the EU on the issue of strategic European-level support for the sector. Marine energy has the potential to deliver around 15 per cent of EU electricity demand and create an estimated 314,000 jobs across the continent by 2050. With the right support, our wave and tidal resources can be fully mobilised to play a key role in delivering the EU’s ambitions for low carbon energy generation and sustainable economic growth."

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, added:

"Scotland’s wave and tidal energy industry is already at the cutting edge of research and development and we must ensure we maintain our global lead. We have built this reputation thanks to our unique facilities such as EMEC in Orkney, which has attracted major international companies to test their wave and tidal devices in Scottish waters, and our expertise in research, development and design, demonstrated by Scottish-based companies such as Pelamis Wave Power, Aquamarine Power and Scotrenewables.

"Many developers have already proven their technology works but securing the necessary finance to help them take the next steps towards commercial scale arrays is a major challenge, not to mention being faced with massive costs to connect their projects to the grid. We need greater financial opportunities for developers and a clear route to market with fairer transmission costs, particularly for the islands. Scotland’s world-leading wave and tidal industry has all the right ingredients to make a significant contribution to our renewable energy mix and to building a sustainable, low carbon economy. Following the actions in the report will help unlock this massive economic and environmental opportunity."

Marine Energy Action Plan

In August 2009, the MEG published a Marine Energy Road Map, including a supply chain survey estimate that up to 1.3 billion of expenditure could be generated in Scotland and as many as 2,600 marine energy jobs created by the installation of 1GW of wave and tidal capacity by 2020. The Road Map’s recommendations included a call for a further Scottish Government marine energy funding round, following the 13 million WATES fund, and for the UK Treasury to unlock Scotland’s Fossil Fuel Levy (FFL) surplus to promote renewables.

Since then Scottish Enterprise, in collaboration with the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has launched two WATERS funding calls for a total of 13 million to boost early-stage wave and tidal device development, and a 18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) to support the deployment of the first wave and tidal arrays in Scottish waters. The Scottish Government, this month, also opened its 18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) for applications to support the deployment of the first wave and tidal arrays in Scottish waters. The Fund, which aims to invest directly in these sectors, comprises half the FFL surplus – with the remainder helping to capitalise the Green Investment Bank.