£5m boost for Scottish marine energy sector

NEW investment in the marine energy sector will help establish a global engineering hub in Edinburgh, the Scottish Government has said.

Fergus Ewing will announce the projects in Belfast today. Picture: Esme Allen

Tidal power company Atlantis Resources Corporation is to receive £2 million from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) to set up the centre of excellence, which is expected to create around 20 new jobs.

A further five marine energy projects will also benefit from a £2.8 million share of the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF).

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Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will announce details of the two initiatives at the RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Conference and Exhibition in Belfast today.

Mr Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technology with some of the world’s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources heavily concentrated in the waters around our country.

“Today’s allocation of almost £5 million in MRCF and REIF funding highlights our commitment to supporting the growth of the marine energy sector in Scotland.

“Our ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sector remains great. We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence and the Scottish Government is determined to support those within the industry.”

Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “This investment is clearly a serious vote in confidence in Atlantis’s plans as a tidal energy developer and our plans to deliver Scotland’s first major tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth.

“However, its benefits won’t stop there. It will not only create Scottish jobs here today but also help create new foreign markets to export Scottish skills to tomorrow, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fast-growing global tidal energy sector.”

The £18 million MRCF is a Scottish Government fund administered by the Carbon Trust to support the marine energy sector in Scotland.

The £103 million REIF was created to support marine, district heating and community renewable projects.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This announcement is a very welcome and timely boost for Scotland’s marine renewables sector.

“If we want this industry to play a major role in Scotland’s energy future then it’s vital we see commercial-scale wave and tidal power devices deployed as soon as possible. These announcements of funding support will certainly be helpful in that respect.

“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 marine environment.”