New body created for the wave energy industry

Fergus Ewing said it will bring the best engineering and academic minds together to work on furthering wave technology. Picture: TSPL
Fergus Ewing said it will bring the best engineering and academic minds together to work on furthering wave technology. Picture: TSPL
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A TECHNOLOGY development body is to be set up to encourage innovation in the wave energy industry, the Scottish Government has announced.

The body, Wave Energy Scotland, will bring the best engineering and academic minds together to work on furthering wave technology, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said.

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He is due to provide more details of his plans in a parliamentary statement at Holyrood next week.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after a wave power company announced it has gone into administration after failing to secure enough funding to develop its technology.

Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) designs, manufactures and operates wave energy converters which it has been testing at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The company, which employs more than 50 staff, had been seeking a “strategic partner capable of taking the world’s most advanced wave energy technology into serial production”.

The latest Scottish Government announcement does not directly refer to Pelamis.

But ministers did say they recognise that early stage technologies, such as wave energy, can take time to flourish. The development of wave energy has also been hampered by uncertainty facing the energy sector more widely, they added.

Despite “generous support” for the sector from the Scottish Government, the lack of private capital has seriously hampered the progress of both wave and tidal energy developers, ministers claim.

Mr Ewing said: “With the extraordinary ocean energy resources off Scotland’s coasts, our belief in the future success of wave energy is undiminished.

“Now is the right time to consider the future of our support for wave energy in Scotland. This is a young industry and we still have a lot of learning to do in marine renewables.

“We want to encourage further innovation in wave energy development and we recognise the need for a bold new approach to supporting this emerging technology. There is also a lack of design convergence in wave energy with many different concepts in development, while tidal appears to be converging on a front-runner design.

“With Wave Energy Scotland, we are proposing a fresh and collaborative way to accelerate wave technology development. The best minds in industry and academia will work together to develop technologies that can be commercialised by the private sector.”

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