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Wave, tidal and offshore wind projects are all in line for new energy award

By Calum MacLeod

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Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre is regarded as a world leader in tidal power.
Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre is regarded as a world leader in tidal power.

Scotland is far from being all at sea when it comes to marine power generation.

The country is recognised as a world leader in the development and deployment of wave and tidal energy technology.

Much of the international attention focussed on these cutting-edge developments is directed at the Highlands and Islands, which is home to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, where the world’s most powerful tidal turbine will enter operation later this year.

The Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund, which offers up to £10 million for projects to support the commercial development of tidal energy, is also set to ensure Scotland remains at the forefront of marine power generation.

However, with over a quarter of Europe’s estimated offshore wind resource passing over Scottish seas, our waters are important for wind power generation too.

Thanks to investment in major projects such as the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm and the Moray East Wind Farm off the coast of Caithness, offshore wind generation is expected to rise from its current offering of around 915MW to over 10GW in the next decade.

The achievements and potential of one of the most exciting of Scotland’s renewable energy sectors will be celebrated at the second Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards in Inverness on Thursday, April 30, with the presentation of a brand new trophy for best offshore renewable energy project.

The award is sponsored by Aspect Land & Hydrographic Surveys, which has provided a specialist survey service to a number of offshore renewable energy projects, including the world’s biggest floating offshore wind farm, Kincardine Offshore Wind Farm, located south-east of Aberdeen.

Sandra Campbell of Aspect said: “Aspect Land & Hydrographic Surveys are proud to sponsor the award for the best offshore renewable energy project 2020.

“With the current focus on climate change and carbon reduction, renewable energy is at the forefront of the sustainability agenda and we are keen to demonstrate our support of and commitment to the industry.”

The winner will be the project which the judges view as having contributed the most towards the development of the region’s off-shore renewable energy sector, and brought demonstrable economic, environmental or social benefits to the sector and the region.

The award is open to offshore wind, wave, tidal or marine energy research projects which have been completed within the last 24 months and are located in or otherwise connected to the Highlands and Islands.

Applications are open at www.hnmedia.co.uk/renewable-energy-day. Potential entrants have until March 28 to apply.

The winners of this, and the other seven categories – and the overall outstanding achievement award winner – will be revealed at the black-tie Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Awards dinner at the Kingsmills Hotel.

A success in its first year, attracting more than 200 key sector guests, this is again organised by Highland News and Media in association with leading law firm Harper Macleod. Tickets for the ceremony can also be booked at the website.

The awards will again follow on from the Scottish Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Conference (SHREC) at the Kingsmills Hotel earlier in the day, when the latest renewable energy developments, on and offshore, will be discussed and celebrated.

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