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|EMEC at the British Renewable Energy Awards ceremony. From left to right – Jonathon Porritt, founding director of Forum for the Future and REA judge; Dr. Stephanie Merry, head of Marine at the REA; and Richard Morris, commercial director of EMEC.|
The European Marine Energy Centre has been named the flagship project of the year for the renewable industry at the 7th British Renewable Energy Awards ceremony, held June 21st in London. EMEC scooped the accolade for its achievement in establishing itself as the world’s leading marine renewable test centre, offering developers the opportunity to economically trial new technologies in real-sea conditions.
Established in 2003, EMEC is the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world, with berths for 14 full-scale devices to be tested simultaneously in some of the harshest weather conditions, while producing electricity to the national grid through the company’s infrastructure.
Richard Morris, commercial director of EMEC, who accepted the award, said, “To be named flagship project of the year by the industry really demonstrates the success story that EMEC has become in delivering the first fully-accredited test facility for the marine renewable industry, and we are privileged to be given such recognition.”
Morris added, “Since EMEC was founded, we have expanded our capability to ensure we remain the world’s leading facility for wave and tidal energy conversion technology, offering developers an opportunity to test in real-world conditions while delivering consultancy to our international partners with whom we form a network to drive the industry forward.
Accredited by UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service), EMEC offers independent, internationally recognised verification of the performance of technologies under test. It also provides nursery testing facilities for smaller scale devices, a wide range of consultancy and research services, and is forging international alliances. Morris noted, “The success we have seen from an industry perspective has been matched by the combined value of the economic benefit delivered by ourselves and our developer clients to the local economy – a model which we hope will be replicated by centres worldwide.”
EMEC’s test sites attract developers from around the globe and to date, the centre has successfully supported the deployment of more grid connected devices than any other single site in the world. Morris explained, “Our nursery test sites and associated infrastructure have helped to close the gap in terms of allowing developers to trial smaller scale prototypes and deployment techniques in open water vital to the industry’s continued growth.”
EMEC was established with around £30 million of funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Carbon Trust, the UK Government, Scottish Enterprise, the European Union, and Orkney Islands Council. Its use of a Dynamic Positioning (DP) vessel to lay the deepwater cables and cable end junctions which connect the test bays to the national grid, in aggressive tidal conditions, was a first for the offshore renewable industry.
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