EMEC – 10 year celebrations
To celebrate the 10thanniversary of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), a symposium was held in Orkney with a programme of site visits prior to and after the main event. EMEC was established in 2003 and is currently the only test centre of its kind in the world, providing 14 berths for both tidal and wave converters.
The symposium was well attended and the presentations reflected the international interest in the marine renewables and the challenges faced. It was also obvious to see how far ahead Scotland is with this form of energy technology. There was a large international representation with delegates from a number of countries including: Canada, China, Denmark, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain & USA (Hawaii), along with a selection of established (on site) developers. MS-LOT representatives, Jim McKie and Billy Harris attended the symposium where Jim was also a guest speaker.
Most of the international delegates arrived on Tuesday 15th October and attended a drinks reception organised by Orkney Islands Council (OIC). On Wednesday 16th tours were organised to visit the various EMEC test sites followed by an excellent ‘Taste of Orkney’ evening meal. On Thursday 17th everyone met at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall where Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC welcomed everybody and outlined the day’s programme of presentations.
The first talk was given by Chris Stark, Head of SG Electricity Division. The talk focused on innovative Government support to advance ocean energy development. Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) followed with a talk on infrastructure and investment. Jennifer Norris, Research Director of EMEC gave a talk on the test centres and the path to real sea deployment. Jim McKie then followed with his first talk of the day, on regulatory challenges, stakeholder engagement, data collection from test site deployments and the importance of a national test centre. EMEC personnel followed with several talks on Research and Monitoring at the test sites. A series of speed updates were given by Pelamis Wave Power, Open Hydro, TGL, Aquamarine Power, Scotrenewables and Seatricity. It was refreshing to hear one of the developers openly informing everyone that they did have teething problems with some components which have been rectified. This openness can only help to advance the technology and stifle the cloak and dagger image. A Q&A panel discussion for the delegates was held before lunch.
The afternoon session started with an informative session regarding H&S procedures and protocols by Stuart Baird, Operations Director at EMEC and Alexis George, H&S Manager for The Crown Estate highlighting TCE’s responsibility to ensure that proper H&S is carried out at their leased sites. Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) and Jim McKie followed with presentations on IALA (The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation) and observations on operation of a test centre, through the use of such tools as ScotMap and Strategic Area Navigational Assessment Paper (SANAP – more information from Tracy McCollin and David O’Sullivan). A further delegates Q&A session was taken before a summary of feedback was given and outlines on the way forward.
Finally, plans to set up an international ocean energy network will be launched, following this conference. The need for increased connectivity was highlighted by those taking part, to help develop the industry further.
Copy of the presentation can be found here.