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Scotland to launch wave energy sector fund

Fergus Ewing will announce further details of the wave energy scheme today. Picture: Leon McGowran

Fergus Ewing will announce further details of the wave energy scheme today. Picture: Leon McGowran

Scotland will be the first part of the UK to have a dedicated fund to help with the development of the wave energy sector, energy minister Fergus Ewing said.

The £18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), which was launched last year, is now to be used to provide support for the wave energy industry.

Projects will be able to apply for cash from next month, with funding expected to be awarded this summer.

Mr Ewing will announce more details of the initiative at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen today.

He said: “All previous marine energy funding schemes have been open to both wave and tidal projects.

“We are proposing something very different here in Scotland, making us the first in the UK.”

Mr Ewing said the need for different sources of funding for wave and tidal energy projects had been “debated for a while now within industry circles” and added that the Scottish Government had listened to the marine renewables industry on this issue.

Growth sector

The minister described marine energy as an “exciting green growth sector”, saying Scotland has a “world-leading resource and is a hot-bed of innovation and talent”.

He added that the fact that three leading tidal energy projects in Scottish waters had recently secured financial support from other sources - a European Commission fund and a UK Government scheme - gave the Scottish Government “the prospect do something different with the MRCF”.

Mr Ewing said: “We now have the chance to provide much-needed support for other marine renewables activities while still fulfilling the goal of the MRCF - which is to help commercialise the marine energy industry in Scotland.

“Scotland needs both wave and tidal stream technologies to help decarbonise our electricity system, increase energy security and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, director of innovation at the Carbon Trust, said it was working with the Scottish Government to “deliver this dedicated support mechanism of financial and technical support for the wave sector to enable wave projects to get to the first array stage”.

He added that this approach would “help keep Scotland, and the rest of the UK, in pole position to capitalise on the tremendous opportunity we have in marine energy”.

Lang Banks, director of environmental charity WWF Scotland, hailed the move as a “very welcome and timely boost for the wave power industry in Scotland”.

Deployment

He added: “If the industry is to play a major role in Scotland’s energy future then it’s vital we see commercial-scale wave power devices deployed as soon as possible. This move should help make that possible.

“There is a massive amount of power in our seas and Scotland is well-placed to lead in developing the technologies to turn this potential into clean, green electricity.

“Alongside energy-saving measures, marine renewables have an important role to play in meeting the Government commitment to decarbonise our power supply by 2030.

“With careful planning, we can harness wave and tidal energy to help cut our climate emissions while safeguarding the nation’s tremendous marine environment.”

 

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