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MPs visit EMEC to see marine energy in action

By Calum MacLeod

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EMEC managing director Neil Kermode (left) show the Scottish Affairs Committee members, including chairman Pete Wishart (second from right), what EMEC has been achieving.
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode (left) show the Scottish Affairs Committee members, including chairman Pete Wishart (second from right), what EMEC has been achieving.

Members of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee had a first hand insight into Scotland's leading role in marine energy research when they visited Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

Five members of the cross-party group joined managing director, Neil Kermode, and external relationship manager, Eileen Linklater, on a boat trip to EMEC’s tidal test site to learn more about marine energy’s potential for Scotland and the UK.

The visitors were able to see two tidal energy devices on site – Orbital’s O2 device, which was developed with around 80 pr cent UK supply chain content; and Magallanes’ ATIR device, which the Spanish company is demonstrating at EMEC’s world leading facilities.

Members were also introduced to Orkney’s hydrogen infrastructure, showing how marine renewable energy can contribute to the generation of green hydrogen for energy storage, transport and use in Orkney’s burgeoning hydrogen economy.

The Orkney visit gave members the chance to discuss marine energy and renewables more generally with representatives from across the islands' energy supply chain, including Orkney Islands Council, Mocean Energy, Community Energy Scotland, Aquatera and Xodus, and included an oral evidence session in Kirkwall to discuss marine renewable energy specifically, as well as wind energy, grid networks and innovation in energy systems, and explore the options for harnessing it most effectively.

Mr Kermode commented: “We have tested more than 30 different wave and tidal technologies in Orkney, giving us valuable experience and insight into the existing UK supply chain and importantly, the economic potential for Scotland and the UK. Marine energy’s predictability offers energy system resilience, and quality job generation provides valuable economic opportunities for maritime communities. Internationally, there’s huge UK export potential as a global marine industry leader.

“However, to deliver these benefits, the sector urgently needs positive signals from government, and we hope the Committee members can help amplify our message which is calling for dedicated support for wave and tidal energy to be part of the UK’s green economic recovery.”

Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Pete Wishart MP said: The cutting edge work being done in Orkney is truly exceptional, with potential to make significant contributions to the energy systems landscape in the near future. With international collaborations, and world class scientific research, this project showcases what Scotland and the UK have the ability to contribute to the world’s renewables sector.

“With COP26 just on the horizon, this is a project that the UK delegation can be truly proud of. We are immensely grateful to EMEC for being such wonderful hosts and providing key insights into renewable energy projects in the Orkney Islands. The information we heard will be invaluable for our renewable energy in Scotland inquiry.”

The livestream recording of the oral evidence session is available on the UK Parliament website: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/0b2b46c4-7ce2-4903-9a1c-e7041997a3f0

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