Scotland launched its latest marine energy action plan late last week, which outlines the next steps to improved finance, grid connection and a developing supply chain.
The plan reports that, since the previous 2009 Marine Energy Road Map, the region has put in place agreements to develop 1.6 GW of marine energy capacity in off the north coast.
Already, 11 demonstration wave and tidal devices are deployed or in the process of being deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and three more will be ready to be installed by 2014.
The go ahead has also been given for the world’s largest consented tidal stream project, the ScottishPower Renewables-Andritz Hydro Hammerfest 10 MW development near Islay.
And the world’s first fully commercial wave power plant, the Mutriku breakwater power plant in Spain, has gone into operation using technology from Voith Hydro Wavegen developed in Scotland.
“The new Action Plan highlights the great progress made to date, particularly in the last three years since the Road Map was published,” commented Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond at the report’s launch. “It outlines the steps now required to be taken by governments, public agencies and the private sector to realise the industry’s ambitions,” he added.
Salmond says that key among those next steps will be grid development, which must include a fair system of transmission charging for renewable in the islands.
“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,” he said.
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has welcomed the report, but warns that current proposals to update the system by which generators pay to link up their power sources to the grid – Project TransmiT – could limit the growth of the sector.
“The REA is delighted that Scotland has such ambitious plans to take forward the local wave and tidal energy sector,” commented REA’s head of marine renewables Steph Merry. “However, if this ambition is to be achieved, Ofgem must act urgently to provide a more equitable transmission charging regime for electricity generation in the Scottish Islands.”
According to the REA’s calculations, a project in the Western Isles could face additional charges of £6.7 million a year for a 100 MW development.
For further information:
Boost for Scottish renewables sector (12-Jun)
Atlantis Resources to lead ETI tidal energy cost-cutting project (24-May)
Vattenfall, Babcock and Abengoa launch marine energy engineering venture (9-May)
UK government launches £20 million marine energy scheme (5-Apr)
25 June 2012