A multi-million pound fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave and tidal power arrays was opened today.

Addressing the AllEnergy conference in Aberdeen, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that Scotland’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) was now open for bids by marine energy developers.

He also announced:

The first award from the £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund (N-RIF) – a £500,000 grant to support the transformation of a strategic dock, ten miles from Glasgow city centre to create a key manufacturing location for renewable energy.

A new Centre for CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery in Scotland, to examine and develop opportunities for Carbon Capture & Storage technologies to boost North Sea resource gains and support efforts to reduce costs related to the development of CCS projects (details will be available shortly at The University of Edinburgh website)

Mr Salmond said:

“Europe’s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources are heavily concentrated in the waters around these islands and Scotland is at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technologies. The new fund brings together the marine renewables expertise of the Carbon Trust, Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies. It will help move the wave and tidal sector from prototype devices to commercially-viable arrays, producing increasing amounts of electricity solely from the power of the seas and deliver a lasting legacy for future generations.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Head of Technology Acceleration, the Carbon Trust, added:

“Scotland has a world leading resource and is a hot bed of innovation and deployment making marine energy an exciting green growth sector. We are delighted to be involved in developing and delivering the new Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund over the next three years. This new fund will be critical to tackle the next set of challenges and innovate to drive down costs of both wave and tidal power.

The First Minister also announced the initial grant award from the N-RIF – which aims to ensure ports and manufacturing infrastructure around Scotland are equipped to capitalise on the rapid development of Europe’s offshore wind and marine renewables sectors.

WB Westway has secured £500,000 to support the development of its 53-hectare industrial site in Renfrewshire. It will support work to dredge the dock area, create a navigable channel on the River Cart and deliver quayside improvements to allow loadings from heavy components manufactured on site for the offshore renewables sector. The improvements have the potential to accelerate wider development plans for a further 30 acres of land, with a master-plan that could see up to £70 million invested in the area over the next decade.

The First Minister said:

“This initial funding award will help Westway to transform the site, to win new tenants, as well as new orders for existing tenants, which include Steel Engineering – an exciting, dynamic Scottish company that is increasingly expanding its renewables business. Further awards are expected later this year to support additional investment in key port locations around Scotland – ensuring communities across the country are ideally-placed to seize the huge opportunities of the global renewables revolution.”

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said:

“We have been working intensively with port owners across Scotland to look at existing infrastructure and investment required to support Scotland’s growing renewables sector. Glasgow and the West has much to offer the sector and has already claimed a place on the renewables map attracting energy heavyweights and pioneers in the offshore wind sector such as Scottish and Southern Energy, Iberdrola and Gamesa.”

The MRCF will be available to boost the roll-out of wave and/or tidal power arrays, to support the marine energy sector to make the next step towards commercial maturity, and help planned developments in the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters, and other marine locations around Scotland. It is open for bids, for two months from today, with the announcement of successful projects to due to be announced towards the end of this year. The Carbon Trust is working alongside the Scottish Government and enterprise agencies in administering and delivering the Fund. For further information see the Carbon Trust website.

The £18m fund forms part of £35 million that the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies will provide in direct support to the wave and tidal industry over the next three years. It is in addition to the £103 million Renewable Energy Investment Fund, part of which is earmarked to support wave and tidal energy, as well as previous WATES and WATERS wave and tidal funding schemes.

The £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund (N-RIF) has been established to support the development of port and near-port manufacturing locations for offshore wind turbines and related developments including test and demonstration activity, with the overall aim of stimulating an offshore wind supply chain in Scotland.

This fund is in addition to Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) and other funding that will be available for companies creating new jobs in this industry in Scotland. Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are leading the allocation of funding and will follow the clear approach set out in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (N-RIP).