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Scottish-Basque connection to drive marine power innovation

By Calum MacLeod

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Scotland's energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.
Scotland's energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.

Marine energy pioneers from Scotland and the Basque Country have launched a new programme to channel €20 million to the most promising wave energy concepts across Europe.

Wave Energy Scotland (WES), a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and fully funded by the Scottish Government, is a lead partner in new five year collaboration EuropeWave, which was launched at the virtual Ocean Energy Europe Conference & Exhibition 2020 (OEE2020).

Match-funded by the European Commission via its Horizon 2020 programme, EuropeWave will be managed and delivered by WES in partnership with Ocean Energy Europe (OEE), the largest network of ocean energy professionals in the world, and the Basque Energy Agency.

EuropeWave will use a pre-commercial procurement process, similar to the one successfully managed by WES, to identify and fund the most promising wave energy devices from developers across Europe.

Concepts will be assessed according to strict technical and economic performance metrics, and the best performers will be demonstrated in Basque Country and Scottish open waters at the end of the programme.

The Basque Country and Scotland have both committed to full decarbonisation and have developed long-term strategies to transition their energy systems.

EuropeWave will build on these strengths to ensure that Scotland and the Basque Country remain leading players in Europe’s emerging ocean energy sector and the wider energy transition.

Scotland's minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, Paul Wheelhouse, and Basque minister for economic development, sustainability and environment, Arantxa Tapia announced the initiative on the last day of OEE2020.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “EuropeWave is a great example of how Scotland can continue to collaborate with European partners, like our friends in the Basque Country who have very similar aims and objectives as ourselves. We can work together to bring forward what can hopefully be a very important technology for the global community.”

Minister Tapia said: “This project is an ideal platform for collaboration between two regions in Europe to promote a new sector that contributes to the energy transitions, creating a new economy and employment for our citizens. It is a clear example of how things should be done.”

Tim Hurst, managing director, Wave Energy Scotland said: “EuropeWave gives us an exciting opportunity to bring our experience of running a successful pre-commercial procurement programme in Scotland to a collaborative European wave energy project. We are looking forward to working with our colleagues at Ocean Energy Europe and in the Basque Country, and hope to see some innovative technologies brought to life through the programme.”

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