Wave Energy development in Scotland set to be disrupted by Brexit

A new report by Imperial College London and the University of Strathclyde has warned that the Scottish Government could find itself ‘alone’ in developing wave energy in the UK after Brexit.

Due to the UK government 'significantly reducing it's support' and with the threat of EU funds being withdrawn post-Brexit, Scotland could find it impossible to properly fund development. 

The report also found that despite almost £200 million of public funds being invested in wave energy innovation nationwide since 2000, the technology "remains some distance away from commercialisation". Weaknesses in government and industry support for marine power we in part to blame for the delay in progress. 

They found key factors slowing development included poor understanding of the scale of the challenge, premature emphasis on array-scale commercialisation and a lack of test facilities. Rapidly changing, poorly co-ordinated policies and a lack of knowledge exchange between technology developers is also blamed.

Researchers found the public sector has made an effort to learn from these mistakes, particularly the Scottish Government, which has redesigned its research, design and development programmes, created new networks for sharing information and developed "world-class" test stations.

Hannah Smith, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “While the potential rewards from harnessing energy from our oceans are enormous, the engineering challenge presented by doing so is also substantial.

“To date, Scotland – and specifically Orkney – is leading the world in the development of wave energy devices.

“Wave Energy Scotland, set up by the Scottish Government in 2014, has refocused the industry’s efforts on collaborating to optimise technology – a model that’s attracting interest from all around the globe.

“Outside that model, however, there is no route to market for wave power technologies, and we need government to provide a viable mechanism to ensure the sector’s continued development.

“A failure to do so would risk losing Scotland’s lead in this global industry – and the consequent loss of economic and environmental benefits to UK Plc.”

Sarah Beattie-Smith, Senior Climate and Energy Policy Officer at WWF Scotland, added: “Scotland’s powerful seas have a significant contribution to make in the fight against climate change, powering our businesses and homes in the future while also offering huge export benefits.

“The global transition to renewable energy is happening at a pace many thought impossible only a few years ago. If Scotland is to continue to reap the benefits of innovation, slash emissions and create local jobs, the Scottish Government’s energy strategy must harness our abundant natural resources and ensure that half of all Scotland’s energy needs come from renewables.”

Source: Energy Voice 

Centre for Scottish Public Policy
c/o Digby Brown LLP
160 Causewayside
Causewayside House
Edinburgh EH9 1PR
Follow us