UK Government supports EMEC growth plans

EMEC Scapa Flow scale wave test site (Credit Colin Keldie, EMEC)
£3 million grant funding will help unlock EMEC growth opportunities to help deliver UK net zero ambitions

The UK Government has announced a new £4.6 million support package for the UK’s islands, £3 million of which will be awarded to the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) over two years.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement as island local authorities from across the UK gathered for the fourth UK Islands Forum in Anglesey. EMEC’s facilities were featured in a tour during the inaugural Islands Forum held in Orkney in 2022.

EMEC is the world’s first and leading wave and tidal energy testing facility and has hosted more ocean energy technologies than anywhere else in the world.

EMEC was set up as a not-for-profit test facility in 2003 following a recommendation by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee to kick start a wave and tidal energy sector in the UK. An economic impact assessment spanning two decades of EMEC’s operations values impact of the test centre to the UK economy at £370 million; £263 million of that was accrued in Scotland, and half of that, £130 million, in the Orkney Islands where EMEC is based.

Since being set up the centre has become a strategically important innovation centre for the UK, having instigated research and demonstrations for the ocean energy sector, as well as the integration of renewables, production of green hydrogen and storage solutions.

EMEC is fundamental in supporting industry to commercialise new technology, by reducing risk, costs and time to deploy. EMEC also helps improve efficiency by taking part in R&D projects totalling £538 million for the renewable industry.

With a funding boost of £3 million, the UK Government will support EMEC’s growth plans, further helping EMEC to deliver the UK’s net zero ambitions, increase innovation and investment in research and development, and drive the levelling up agenda and green growth in island communities.

Growth plans include expanding test facilities to support tidal energy arrays, as well as further diversification to integrate green hydrogen, storage, offshore wind, and islanded decarbonisation projects.

Neil Kermode, EMEC’s Managing Director said:

“Thank you to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for supporting EMEC’s growth plans. We are grateful to Michael Gove who, as Levelling Up Secretary, has shown a clear vote of confidence in what EMEC is doing as we deliver against key government objectives of delivering on net zero ambitions, increasing innovation and investment in R&D, and supporting the levelling up agenda and green growth.

“We would also like to acknowledge the support of Andrew Bowie, Minister for Renewables in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, who have recognised the significant benefits EMEC can continue to bring to the local and Scottish economy as well as positioning Orkney as a world-leading innovator in renewable energy.

“For the past 20 years, EMEC has driven the development of a marine energy sector in the UK to enhance the range of technologies available to decarbonise our energy mix and improve the robustness of the UK electricity system. We have facilitated innovation and investment in R&D through our test and demonstration sites for both ocean energy and other new innovative technologies, accelerating cost reduction, boosting domestic supply chain and manufacturing capability and readying the UK for scaling up…Read more