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Blog: UK’s Marine Energy Parks join forces

The UK’s two Marine Energy Parks (MEP) have signed a milestone agreement to work together to support the development of the wave and tidal industry in the United Kingdom.

The collaboration agreement, was signed at the Renewable UK Wave and Tidal Conference in London, witnessed by Greg Barker, MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.

The South West Marine Energy Park in south west England, and The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park, in the North of Scotland, were designated as the UK’s first marine energy parks in 2012, in recognition of the significant natural and business resources, and the close working partnerships established between industry, technology developers, academia and the public sector in the two regions.

While each Park will provide a focus for investment and industrial growth within its own geographic area, this agreement provides a basis for the two MEPs to work together to build relationships, address common issues affecting the industry and to encourage business and research collaboration.  It will also provide a means to exchange knowledge and best practice to ensure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of the global marine energy industry.

Fergus Ewing, MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism said: “I am proud that Scotland is leading the way in marine energy and the Scottish Government will continue to promote Scotland as the place for wave and tidal investment and development.

“The MoU between the marine energy parks ensures a more coherent and strategic approach in developing the marine renewables industry.  It will also provide us with greater leverage in Europe which will help create a positive business environment to attract investment and generate jobs for both Orkney and the surrounding area and in the South West from Bristol through to Cornwall and as far as the Isles of Scilly.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Today’s agreement between the South West and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Parks is a real boost for our marine energy industry.

“We already leading the way globally on marine power, thanks to our world-class natural resource and outstanding technical know-how.  Marine Energy Parks, aimed at sharing expertise and knowledge on the ground, are a vital part of the Coalition Government’s vision to keep up this momentum.

“This Memorandum of Understanding will help encourage further investment, accelerate the move to commercialisation and ensure marine energy reaches its potential in our future energy mix.

“From southern England to northern Scotland, I’m struck by the fact these two Parks lie at opposite ends of Great Britain.  This agreement symbolises the strength of the UK working together as one.”

Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), who will sign on behalf of The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters MEP said: “We are delighted that the Highlands and Islands’ role in the development of the marine energy sector is being recognised nationally and internationally through the signing of the MoU with the south west.  The MoU recognises the work already being undertaken by both regions and will help to accelerate their place on the worldwide marine energy stage as well as attracting investment and furthering the industry’s ambition for commercialisation.”

Peter Kydd, strategic director at Parsons Brinckerhoff, who will sign the agreement as chairman of the South West Marine Energy Park, said: “We are very pleased to be working in close partnership with our colleagues in Scotland – there are already very strong relationships between companies and research facilities in the two regions, it makes sense therefore that the UK’s first two Marine Energy Parks should be working together to promote and accelerate the commercial development of marine energy technologies”

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables said: “Scotland has some of the best wave and tidal resources in Europe and the EMEC testing facility in Orkney is already recognised as an international centre of excellence when it comes to marine energy technologies. It is, therefore, great to see such a collaborative approach to helping develop Scotland and the UK’s world-leading marine energy industry.

“Wave and tidal energy has the potential to make a significant contribution to our future electricity needs and this tie-up allows both Marine Energy Parks to continue to work together to ensure we maintain the global lead that Scotland and the UK have established”

Johnny Gowdy, Programme Director at Regen SW said: “There is a huge amount that the south west can learn from the experience that our Scottish cousins have had in the marine energy sector. Already several south west based companies are working up in Orkney and at EMEC; we want to see this exchange continue and look forward to welcoming Scottish companies who we hope will come down to work on energy projects off the south west coast in the very near future.”

Press release: Highlands & Islands Enterprise

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