SCOTTISH firms seeking to produce energy from the oceans will be able to bid to a share of a major new European funding pot.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing will announce to the Ocean Energy Conference in Paris that Scottish Enterprise will contribute £450,000 towards the Open European Research Area Network (ERA-NET).
Companies and research organisations from countries including the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden will all be eligible to apply for a share of the seven million euro (£5.4 million) fund, which will help support marine renewables projects.
Mr Ewing said: “The ocean energy sector is a high priority for Scotland, which is why I’m delighted to see Scottish Enterprise is investing £450,000 in this fund.
“This is an opportunity for Scottish companies to develop ocean energy technologies and research new tools and methods to tackle some of the key challenges which exist in the sector.”
Speaking ahead of the conference, he stressed the Government’s “ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sectors remains great”, adding that projects such as a tidal power scheme in the Pentland Firth “takes our ambition to the next level and further cements Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in deploying renewables technology”.
Mr Ewing said: “We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence, which is why we are determined to support those in the industry.
“By working with our colleagues in Europe to research clean, green energy we are opening up opportunities for communities and delivering jobs and investment.”
Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise, lead partner for the Ocean Energy ERA-NET project, said: “By bringing companies together to work collaboratively, the Ocean Energy ERA-NET project has significant potential to support the growth of this exciting sector.
“Sharing skills and knowledge will help the industry overcome common challenges, such as technology development, as well as increasing export opportunities.
“The project clearly shows the real ambition across Europe for the industry and we’ve been delighted to work closely with partners from right across the EU in its development.”
Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for offshore renewables at industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “We’re delighted to see Scottish Enterprise supporting the Ocean Energy European Research Area Network (ERA-NET).
“This investment opens up huge opportunities for Scottish companies and proves once again that Scotland is right at the heart of the increasing European interest in marine energy.
“The development of wave and tidal energy is already delivering significant economic benefit to the Scottish economy.
“Only last week, figures released by Scottish Renewables showed the sector has already invested more than £217 million to date and that around two-thirds of the supply chain is Scottish.
“The Scottish marine energy sector has realised the best way to overcome challenges is by pooling resources and working together.
“Programmes like ERA-NET will help allow Scottish companies to do exactly that, by working collaboratively with partners across Europe.”