Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur led a debate in the Scottish Parliament today highlighting the achievements of Scotland’s marine renewables sector and calling for cross-party support to ensure that the sector achieves its potential in future.
The motion lodged by Mr McArthur invited Parliament to “recognise the importance of maintaining Scotland’s global lead in developing wave and tidal stream technologies” and “acknowledge the wider set of socio-economic benefits associated with these technologies”, particularly in coastal and island communities, such as Orkney.
Commenting after the debate, Mr McArthur said:
“Orkney has been at the very heart of Scotland’s world-leading role in the development of marine renewables over the years. We can be proud of what the sector has already achieved and should be confident about what can be achieved in future.
“That confidence stems from the fact that wave and tidal energy play to our strengths in terms of academic research, supply chain expertise and natural resources. Orkney epitomises this, from the contribution of ICIT and EMEC to the achievements of Scotrenewables and the cluster of businesses that form part of a local supply chain with global reach. Orkney, like Scotland, punches above its weight.
“Yet, as Scottish Renewables has warned, the marine energy sector is at a critical juncture. Key challenges need to be overcome if these technologies are be given a chance to reaching commercial deployment.
“In particular, the UK Government must recognise that wave and tidal stream technologies are still at an early stage of development and need to be supported as such. Forcing them to compete for funding against a more mature technology like offshore wind risks throttling them at birth.
“That makes no sense at all and risks undermining our efforts to meet climate change targets as well as generating jobs and wealth, not least in places like Orkney. I was pleased therefore that parliament was able to send a clear and united message today in support of marine renewables and our collection determination to stay the course.”