Optimism from Scotland’s wave and tidal energy sectors, fuelled by the Meygen’s launch on Monday, boosted delegates at Scottish Renewables’ Marine Conference in Inverness this week.
Representatives from those companies joined 150 delegates for the annual event, which was held in association with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Those attending were reassured by Atlantis Resources’ CEO Tim Cornelius, who addressed one of the largest current concerns over what kind of role wave and tidal will play in future Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation rounds.
Cornelius said: “There are very clever people working on the CfD problem, and I am confident there will be a solution. The tidal sector’s rapid progress had created an unprecedented opportunity for turbine suppliers and this is a challenge for the company that will be addressed by diversification across the supply chain.”
In wave energy, technology readiness levels are rising, and upcoming calls from Wave Energy Scotland, discussed in depth through two sessions at the event, provided further cause for optimism in the sector – although questions over future funding remain, according to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Audrey MacIver, Head of Energy at HIE, said: “The debate and discussions were upbeat and lively throughout the day, and the broad range of speakers helped demonstrate the important role HIE continues to play in the industry, whilst also reinforcing the fact that there has never been a more crucial time for the marine industry to work together to maintain and build on the momentum of recent successes.”
Tim Sawyer, CEO of Carnegie Wave Energy UK told the event’s final industry leaders session: “We are working off chicken feed to develop game-changing technology, but despite that, we have created amazing things.”
Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland leads the world in marine energy, and what’s being done here is at the very forefront of technological innovation. Because of that, and because wave and tidal energy are emerging sectors, they face a unique set of challenges.
“The current uncertainty around a route to market presents issues, and it was good to hear some optimism on this front from Atlantis, the largest marine developer, at the conference.
“Access to finance and grid connections were two other perennial issues still described as critical, but hopefully long-term efforts to grow investor confidence are starting to pay dividends, and innovation in areas like energy storage could provide opportunities to solve at least some of the problems faced by the industry.”
The Marine Conference, which was held at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, was sponsored by Wave Energy Scotland, AREG, The Crown Estate and the University of the Highlands and Islands.