MEMBER NEWS: Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero visits Orkney

April 13, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero visits Orkney

Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, visited Orkney, Thursday 6 April, following the UK Government announcing ambitious plans to scale up clean, homegrown power and build thriving green industries in Britain.

Boosting the country’s energy security and independence while maintaining a world-leading position in achieving net zero are priorities for the new Department of Energy Security and Net Zero.

Visiting EMEC’s pioneering clean energy test and demonstration facilities in Orkney, Minister Stuart was able to learn about the important role of emerging technologies such as wave energy, tidal power and green hydrogen in our future energy mix.

During a boat trip to EMEC’s tidal test site, the Minister got up close to two tidal energy technologies demonstrating on site. Scottish company Orbital Marine Power’s O2 tidal turbine provided an example of a technology designed, built and deployed in the UK amassing 80% UK content, whilst an example of inward investment was highlighted through Spanish-based developer Magallanes’ ATIR tidal turbine.

The important energy system benefits offered by these innovative technologies was further demonstrated onshore at EMEC’s green hydrogen production and battery storage facilities on the island of Eday.

Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, said:

“It was excellent to see first-hand the development of wave and tidal energy technology at the European Marine Energy Centre, which is placing the UK at the global forefront of marine power.

“As an island nation the UK is ideally situated to reap the benefits of our natural resources, to produce clean energy and boost our energy security.”

Neil Kermode, EMEC’s Managing Director said:

“Tidal stream energy is an entirely predictable, firm renewable power resource, key in delivering a diverse energy generation mix that supports energy security when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining. Utilising the predictability of tides in combination with battery storage and green hydrogen production creates even greater opportunity to decarbonise, capitalising on the incredible renewable resources around the British coast.”

“EMEC is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and our world-leading facilities have hosted an amazing array of pilot projects – now is the time to scale up, continue learning by doing, and ensure these emerging technologies can play their part in delivering on net zero targets in the UK and globally.”

Andrew Scott, CEO at Orbital Marine Power, said:

“Following on from the positive announcement of the UK Government’s continued support for tidal stream energy under the Contract for Difference scheme, it is fantastic to get the engagement of the Minister to come and see first-hand some of the exciting things that have already been achieved around the sector and to get the opportunity to discuss how we can grow a successful tidal industry that helps deliver net zero as well as creating a new sustainable, indigenous industry for the UK.”

Minister Stuart also met Orkney Islands Council to learn about their plans for one of Orkney’s greatest natural resources, Scapa Flow, and its potential to host a deepwater quay supporting future offshore renewables deployment.

Councillor Gillian Skuse, Orkney Islands Council’s Vice-Chair of the Development and Infrastructure Committee said:

“Orkney continues to provide a definite focal point for emerging energy technologies and that was certainly evidenced to Minister Stuart in his visit today. He heard not only from the world-leading companies operating right here in Orkney, but also from the local authority who are developing our own plans for how we might support future offshore renewables deployment – further cementing Orkney’s position at the forefront of the drive to net-zero.”


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AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

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The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


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Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

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