Orkney-based Neil Kermode has been awarded an OBE for services to renewable energy and to the community in Orkney.
Neil has been Managing Director of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), in Orkney, Scotland, since 2005, driving the company’s growth and diversification.
Today EMEC is the world’s leading test and demonstration site for wave and tidal energy, as well as a world-renowned innovation catalyst pioneering the transition to a clean energy future.
Neil’s commitment to a carbon-free society has resulted in many ‘first of its kind’ experimental projects progressing the development of marine energy, subsea data centres, green hydrogen, and the integration and decarbonisation of energy systems.
Neil has worked tirelessly to combat climate change, trial solutions to reduce carbon emissions, drive the global development of marine renewables, and is a staunch promotor of renewable energy development in Orkney and further afield.
As a passionate and unrelenting advocate for marine renewables, Neil has driven the development of EMEC and the UK’s marine energy industry, lobbying for regulatory and policy change and pushing for public sector support to cement the UK as the centre of the wave and tidal energy industry.
Under Neil’s stewardship, more marine energy technologies have demonstrated at EMEC than anywhere else in the world.
This unprecedented activity has had a significant economic impact locally and nationally. An economic impact assessment spanning two decades of EMEC’s operations values the impact of the test centre to the UK economy at £370 million, with £130 million of that accrued in Orkney.
Beyond EMEC, Neil serves as the Chair of the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF) promoting the development and overcoming barriers to renewables developments throughout Orkney. Orkney is well regarded as a lighthouse community for the energy transition, attracting businesses, journalists and politicians from around the globe to see and learn from the Orkney experience. Neil aims to lead by example and has written and contributed to the implementation of Orkney-wide strategies, for example the Electric Vehicle Strategy.
Neil also volunteers his time in various other community initiatives, such as the rebuilding and restoration of the Kitchener Memorial through Orkney Heritage Society, along with recognising the work and contributions of Murdoch MacKenzie, a pioneering Orcadian hydrographer and cartographer. He’s been active contributor to the Orkney International Science Festival for many years. During the COVID pandemic, Neil was actively involved in an economic task force to develop strategies and tackle the challenges faced across all aspects of the Orkney economy.
This is not the first time Neil’s dedication, drive and commitment has been recognised. Neil was awarded: the J Attwood Shield from the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management in 2010; the Lennard-Senior Memorial Prize from the Society for Underwater Technology in 2011, and again in 2021; Outstanding Contribution Award from Green Energy Awards in 2013; and an Honorary Fellowship to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 2021.
On hearing of the award, Neil Kermode said:
“I was surprised to receive the letter and rather stunned. However I am delighted that this award helps bring more attention to so many of the things and people I care about.
“I recall being told that OBE stands for ‘Other Bu$$er’s Effort’ and in this case it is true. I would not be getting this award if I had not been able to work with such great and motivated groups of people over the years in so many spheres. Together we have achieved things that none of us could have done alone.
“In this respect it is a real joy to see the progress we have made together. But it is also both daunting to see how much we have to do, and exciting to see the opportunities it presents.”