Meet the people

Sandy Kerr, ICIT
Liz Foubister, Xodus Group
Neil Kermode, EMEC
David Thomson, Orcades Marine
Bryan Rendall, Bryan J Rendall Ltd



My links with Orkney
I’ve ended up in Orkney completely by accident really! I came here for a holiday one summer and met my future wife. Before I knew it I was studying for an MSc in Marine Resource Management at the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT), Heriot Watt University’s campus in Stromness. After that I got a 2 month research contract working at ICIT… that was in 1993 and I’m still here now!

Current role
Director of the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT), Heriot Watt University’s Orkney Campus. I am responsible for all MSc’s taught here, and while ICIT has a wide-remit of academic study, my personal research interests lie in marine planning, the use of sea space and community benefits from renewable projects.

How I got involved with marine renewables
I completed my PhD in the sustainability of small islands, and renewable energy makes sense for these communities, rather than relying on diesel generators. So I was considering the potential of marine renewables very early on, before the bigger political drive around climate change started.

In my opinion, Orkney is the best place to learn about renewables, with a global reach and forward thinking, it really is the “hub” of the marine renewables industry. Students gain an understanding of renewable energy application and effect, which is simply not possible in a conventional university setting.


My links with Orkney
Originally from Yorkshire, I came to Orkney in the early 1990s to study for an MSc in Marine Resource Management at the International Centre for Island Technology, Heriot Watt University ’s campus in Stromness.  I was subsequently offered a job with the university, met and married a local man and the rest is history!  I co-founded AURORA Environmental Limited, a very successful Orkney based environmental consultancy company specialising in the marine energy industry.  AURORA was acquired by the Xodus Group in 2007, which maintains a strong presence in Orkney, where there is a 18 person team.

Current role
Specialist consultant with the Xodus Group. Focusing on consultancy work in the offshore renewables sector, specifically wave, tidal and offshore wind projects.

How I got involved with marine renewables
Here you’re never far from the sea – it’s what attracted me to Orkney in the first place. Back then I don’t think I quite realised what an important role the waters around Orkney would play in the evolution of marine renewables.

I’ve always worked in the marine energy sector, initially in the oil and gas industry.  I was a consultant on the EIA (environmental impact assessment) for the Osprey wave energy device deployed off Dounreay in the early 1990s.  My personal interests and career path have more recently become solely focused on providing consultancy services to the offshore renewables industry. 

The wave and tidal sector is an exciting place to be right now, and much of this excitement is being generated here in Orkney.  There are many challenges to be over come – but I’m confident that I’m in the right place to support the emergence of a fully commercial wave and tidal industry.


My links with Orkney
I first came to Orkney on a holiday as a scuba diver to dive the wrecks of Scapa Flow.  During a diving trip I was struck by a phenomenon that occurs at certain stages of the tide - a big difference in sea level on the North Sea and Scapa Flow sides of the four wartime causeways known as the Churchill Barriers.  I came up with an idea to use them as a major source of renewable energy if turbines were built into the causeways and I quickly discovered that this is a community keen to embrace innovative sustainable energy initiatives.  When EMEC’s first managing director left to take up a new position, I was in the right place at the right time to help out on a caretaker basis. Then came the chance to take over the helm on a long term basis.

Current role
Managing director, EMEC. 

How I got involved with marine renewables
I trained as a civil engineer and have had a long standing interest in energy.  After some years in municipal engineering that led to the Environment Agency I eventually struck out on my own and pursued the Churchill Barriers idea.  This led me to Italy, where I worked with the developer of a tidal turbine that generated electricity while anchored in the Straits of Messina off Sicily.  I am delighted that the same path brought me to Orkney, which has placed itself front and centre in the drive to make marine renewables work.  There could be no better location for EMEC, the world’s only accredited test centre for full-scale wave and tidal energy converters.  Leading developers from a host of countries are using our unrivalled facilities to test their technologies.  It is a privilege to be working at the heart of this burgeoning industry and to lead the team that helps break new (sustainable) ground on a daily basis.


My links with Orkney
I came to Orkney in 2003 with my wife Tracy and two young daughters to take up the role of Marine Superintendent with the Orkney Towage Company, which operates three tugs based at Scapa.  I transferred to Orkney Islands Council and became Head of Operations for the combined Marine Services Department, which brings together the Harbour Authority, Orkney Ferries and Orkney Towage.

Current role
Managing director of Orcades Marine Management Consultants Ltd. I established Orcades Marine in October 2010 in partnership with Gareth Davies of Stromness-based consultants, Aquatera.  OMMC undertakes marine consultancy and marine project management with a focus on marine renewables - utilising wherever possible the wealth of local skills, experience, and resources that are available within Orkney.

How I got involved with marine renewables
I’ve been involved since the early days when EMEC was first established.  Orkney Towage helped developers by providing marine support including tugs and assistance with the deployment of devices.

During my time with the Council, and now with OMMC, I’ve relished the opportunity to work alongside the rapidly expanding marine renewables industry. I get a great deal of satisfaction from utilising my maritime experience to support and assist wave and tidal developers seeking solutions to the many challenges they face.


My links with Orkney
Born, bred and live here - the Rendall surname was first recorded in Orkney in 1391!

Current role
Director, Bryan J Rendall (Electrical) Ltd.  A hands-on role supporting marine energy developments with HV electrical services, as well as control, instrumentation and fibre optics.

How I got involved with marine renewables
A natural progression from onshore and offshore wind energy, where much of the HV and communications infrastructures are similar.  We first became involved with marine renewables in 2001 by carrying out some of the initial electrical feasibility studies for the establishment of EMEC. Since then, we have been heavily involved with both EMEC and the developers who use their facilities through construction, commissioning and operations.



Wednesday, April 3rd 2019

Energy system of the future to be demonstrated in Orkney

The first phase of a new £28.5 million project to create a Virtual Energy System (VES) in Orkney, Scotland, has been launched to digitally link distributed and intermittent renewable generation to flexible demand. The ReFLEX (Responsive Flex Full Story...

Friday, April 27th 2018

EMEC FORESEA tidal energy tripod decommissioning study

Collaborative decommissioning project will conduct forensic analysis of tidal energy tripod, and feedback lessons learnt for benefit of ocean energy sector The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd has contracted Orkney-based marine operations Full Story...

Contact Information

c/o Maureen Shearer, Development Manager, HIE, 14 Queen Street, Kirkwall
KW15 1JE Scotland

T: 01856888710