A big drive is underway to secure business and industry backing for an Orkney-based research effort aimed at boosting marine renewable energy generation in Scotland.
Created by Heriot-Watt University, MREDS (Marine Renewable Energy Development in Scotland) is designed to bring academics and industry together to overcome the challenges faced by developers of wave and tidal technologies.
The team involved is confident that a range of companies and organisations are keen to get involved in this unique initiative.
A launch event, held recently at oil company Total E&P UK’s Aberdeen offices, attracted interest from the financial, oil and gas, offshore construction, and energy generation sectors.
“I’m very confident we’ll get significant sponsorship for MREDS as a result,” said Professor Jon Side, programme director at the university’s International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) in Orkney.
“Everyone involved was encouraged with the way the launch went – and by the keen interest shown in helping marine renewables work through this unique research effort.”
Based at ICIT, MREDS’ aim is to overcome barriers that could hinder the development of technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal currents.
Developers of marine renewables involved in the initiative are keen for MREDS to address some of the technological challenges they face – and to share know-how with the offshore oil, gas and construction sectors.
Potential backers are interested in research into the wider environmental, ecological and social impacts of producing power at sea – and potential constraints like the current capacity of the National Grid.
“We’re pleased we seem to have got the balance right in the work programmes we’ve drawn up,” added Prof Side.
“We’re now planning a series of follow-up visits to engage with companies interested in sponsoring and shaping the MREDS programme.”
HIE Orkney and Orkney Islands Council are each providing