Orkney showcase for world leading technologies
The visit, part of EU Sustainable Energy Week, was hosted by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Ocean Energy Europe.
Representatives from Europe's Directorate-Generals for Energy, Research and Innovation, and Maritime Affairs and Fisheriesvisited EMEC's onshore facilities at the Billia Croo wave test site.
They then took part in boat tours of the wave and tidal energy test sites, where technologies developed by Wello, OpenHydro and Tocardo are generating electricity into the grid.
The group also boarded and looked inside Scotrenewables' SR2000 turbine, which is currently berthed at Hatston Pier in Kirkwall prior to it being redeployed at EMEC’s tidal test site at the Fall of Warness.
In addition, a seminar and exhibition was held at Warness Park, showcasing the ocean energy industry and its supply chain, both from Orkney and around the EU.
Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, said: “We currently have 13 EU-funded research projects taking place in Orkney, with €65 million levered by an array of European partners, so we were keen for the European Commission to see this innovation in action with their own eyes.
“EMEC was created to kick-start a marine renewables industry and harness the power of Europe's enviable wave and tidal resources. To date we've seen more technologies tested at EMEC than anywhere else in the world, which has stimulated economic development locally and across the UK, encouraged inward investment, and created export opportunities for Orkney's experienced supply chain.”
Piotr Tulej, head of unit at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, said: “"It was great to see all those various technologies demonstrated here at EMEC and we do hope that these projects will deliver on their promise regarding efficiency, reliability and survivability. This will send the right signal to investors who are key to further commercial development.”
Felix Leinemann, Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Fisheries & Maritime Affairs, added: “Ocean energy is a promising and emerging sector for Europe.
"What is happening here in Orkney shows why the European Commission sees ocean energy as an integral part of its Blue Growth strategy: we can make use of the power of the sea while supporting sustainable growth and jobs."
Rémi Gruet, chief executive officer of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “Europe leads the world in ocean energy technology development, and we’ve seen more proof of that from the developers and their supply chain partners testing at EMEC.
"Support from EU and national governments has played a pivotal role in these successes, and helped leverage private finance into the sector. With continued support, ocean energy can become a new manufacturing industry based firmly in Europe.”