A NEW Marine Renewables Test Centre is to be created at Dundee University in a major boost for the burgeoning green energy sector.
The university aims to establish the new £2 million centre as a leading facility for the development, design and testing of marine renewable construction materials and prototype foundations.
Professor Rod Jones, head of the new centre, said: “Scotland is well placed to deliver offshore wind and marine renewables and meet its ambitious targets for 2020 but there are still some significant challenges to be addressed.
“Although considerable progress has been made in developing and manufacturing turbines, the main challenges now lie in the design, commissioning and deployment of key structural components such as concrete foundations for offshore wind farms.”
He continued: “We have world-leading expertise at Dundee in the development of concrete technology and the modelling of novel foundation solutions. This new centre will build on that and be integral to the provision of, demonstration and certification of marine materials and structures, which are particularly needed by industry if we are to successfully deploy the systems required to exploit Scotland’s natural resources in wind and marine energy.
“The renewables sector is one that has been predicted to create up to 40,000 jobs and £30 billion of investment to the Scottish economy, as well as providing the country’s main energy solutions. This Centre will help realise those ambitious goals.”
Centre news welcomed
The establishment of the centre was welcomed by Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism. Mr Ewing said: “The creation and launch of the Marine Renewables Test Centre located at the University of Dundee is a further demonstration of Scotland’s continued commitment to the development and future commercialisation of the marine renewables industry in Scotland.
“The test centre in Dundee will complement the internationally recognised facilities provided by Flowave TT located at the University of Edinburgh and, of course, the world leading testing facilities offered at EMEC.”
The £2 million Centre is being supported by £833,000 funding from the European Regional Development Fund. ERDF has also provided more than £160,000 to support the Offshore Renewables Institute, a major partnership between the Dundee, Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities, which has a specific focus on marine policy and planning.
Professor Stephen Decent, the university’s Vice Principal and head of the College of Art, Science and Engineering, said: “Together these awards represent a major boost for Scotland’s offshore renewable energy ambitions.
“Scotland is developing a leading position in low carbon energy development. The Energy Technology Partnership, of which the three ORI universities are members, is now well established and recently we have seen the creation of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Centre in Glasgow.
“The Marine Renewables Test Centre and the Offshore Renewables Institute complete the jigsaw by providing world-class expertise in engineering, policy and planning.”