Wave and tidal energy worth £217m to Scots economy

Scotland’s flourishing wave and tidal energy sector has invested more than £217m in the country to date, with £31.8m spent in the last 12 months alone, according to a Scottish Renewables report.

By K.Steiner-Dicks on Sep 23, 2014

The study said that almost two-thirds (62%) of the growing industry’s supply chain is Scottish, which has also been a driving factor in any goverment-led funding.

Marine energy in which Scotland has been forecast to be worth £50bn by 2050. Lindsay Leask, Senior Policy Manager for offshore renewables at Scottish Renewables, said: “Wave and tidal energy is still very much the renewables new kid on the block, but the opportunities it presents are enormous, particularly for Scotland.

“These investment figures, revealed for the first time by our Marine Milestones report, show the significant economic benefits this young sector is bringing. Crucially, those benefits are staying local, benefitting communities and families who are looking to renewables for a sustainable future, both economically and environmentally.

“Scotland already leads the world in the development of these audacious, innovative machines, and maintaining that position at the front of the global pack is something we believe is worthy of continued government support.”

One company in the local supply chain that is lapping up in the tidal sector is Roving Eye, an Orkney-based operator of ROVs (remotely-operated underwater vehicles) and survey boats. The husband and wife business employs four, and has received around 65% of its 2014 revenue from work in the wave and tidal sectors.

Owner Keith Bichan said in a press statement: “Marine energy is a thrilling sector. We’re always doing something new, and something probably no-one has ever had to do before, thinking outside the box and working on complex solutions with some of the most innovative engineers in Europe.

The company's services are used throughout the life-cycle of wave and tidal energy devices, from surveying the seabed as part of the consenting process to monitoring the deployment of devices and maintenance and, finally, surveying cables annually for the full life of the projects.

“Wave and tidal have changed the vibe in Orkney – they have made people believe we can make a future for the islands as oil and gas reserves deplete, and the thought that the eyes of the world are on what we are doing makes it all the more exciting,” said Bichan.