Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group minutes: February 2020

Minutes from Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group meeting, held on 5 February 2020.

Attendees and apologies

  • Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
  • Neil Kermode, European Marine Energy Centre
  • Andrew Scott, Orbital Marine Power
  • Gavin Smart, ORE Catapult
  • Miriam Noonan, ORE Catapult
  • Jeremy Smith, QED Naval
  • Henry Jeffrey, University of Edinburgh
  • Tim Hurst, Wave Energy Scotland
  • Sue Barr, Marine Energy Council
  • Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables
  • Sian Wilson, Crown Estate Scotland
  • Jan Reid, Scottish Enterprise
  • Laura Fidao, SIMEC Atlantis
  • Norma Hogan, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Simon Wallace, SDI
  • Gary Connor, Nova Innovation
  • Tony Laing, National Subsea Research Initiative
  • Paul Smith, Marine Scotland
  • Craig Frew, Scottish Government
  • Gordon Patterson, Scottish Government
  • Christopher Bruce, Scottish Government


  • Neil Gordon, Subsea UK
  • Simon Grey, AWS Ocean Energy
  • Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe
  • Jason Hayman, Sustainable Marine Energy
  • Patrik Moller, CorPower

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Apologies were noted from:

  • Neil Gordon, Subsea UK
  • Simon Grey, AWS Ocean Energy
  • Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe
  • Jason Hayman, Sustainable Marine Energy
  • Patrik Moller - CorPower

The Minister welcomed members to the 8th meeting of the group, followed by roundtable introductions.

Minutes of last meeting

Actions from the previous meeting have either been completed or are being taken forward. It was noted that BEIS officials have indicated an interest in attending a future meeting of the group, and the Scottish Government will consider further the suggestion of engaging with the Committee on Climate Change and will respond to the group with further details in advance of the next meeting.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

Revenue support

Sue Barr provided an update on the Marine Energy Council including recent and ongoing engagement with MPs and Treasury. 

A Public Affairs Director for MEC will be appointed in the near future, and there are plans for the MEC to have a greater online presence over the coming months. 

MEC will participate in the Marine APPG meeting on 26 February, which the Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng will also attend.

MEG will be represented at the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) winter reception on 11 February.

Sue highlighted the forthcoming Energy White Paper, expected to be published in first quarter of 2020, and suggested that there is an increasing awareness of and interest in marine energy at Westminster and various levels of UK Government.

Sue suggested that any members of the group who are approached by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology about providing input to their marine energy briefing note should get in touch with her for the purpose aligning the sector’s key messages.

Mr Wheelhouse advised the group that it would be helpful if Scottish Government officials were sighted on any messages from the sector to the UK Government. Particularly in the context of the forthcoming White Paper, or other ongoing engagement.

A question was raised about potential conflict with floating offshore wind in accessing any future revenue support. MEC’s view is that there is potential to structure support in such a way that enables sufficient room for wave and tidal. The Scottish Government would welcome members’ further comments on this point.

Mr Wheelhouse stressed the importance of having a strategic pipeline of projects in Scotland and articulating clearly to Treasury what the next deployments will achieve in terms of technology cost reduction and innovation. This should also highlight the positive opportunity to secure a high domestic supply chain content for the technology from the beginning.

Action: Sue will provide an update following the meeting with APPG on 26 February.

Tidal stream collaborative workshops

The Minister introduced the topic covered at recent workshops which are designed to learn from the experience of developers with devices currently in the water and encourage collaboration in Scotland’s tidal stream sector.

It was noted that the workshops have brought together engineering expertise and, more broadly, have been a good opportunity to hear ‘other voices’ from across the sector. Some useful experience and knowledge has been shared and, at a high level, a number of areas for potential collaboration have emerged and will be highlighted in the summary report for the group at the end of the programme.

The final two workshops (on Environmental Monitoring and Decommissioning) scheduled to take place on 2 March are expected to be especially useful given the shared experiences and requirements for all participants.

The TIGER project in the Channel Region, in which a number of members of this group are involved and for which a number of workshops are planned, was highlighted as a vehicle for collaboration.

Mr Wheelhouse welcomed the TIGER project and the fact that many Scottish developers were involved in the project. However the Minister was clear that his ambition was to see the sector developing in Scotland, and that it was important that projects such as TIGER should complement initiatives in Scotland, rather than replace them.

A summary of the outcomes from the workshops will be prepared after the end of the programme.

It was noted that while the workshops have been useful to a degree, they have not as yet resulted in any concrete actions. Clear that there are barriers in industry which prevents obtaining these strategies. What lessons can be learned from this process to deliver these next time round?

A final summary session was proposed to work on the potential strategic outputs from the programme of workshops.

Action: OREC to propose format for a final workshop session to develop a clearer set of outputs.

It was remarked that there is a clear difference in engineering know how and supply chain know how and it was suggested that supply chain should have an opportunity to contribute to the process. This could include a more strategic focus on supporting supply chain capability and infrastructure such as assembly facilities and harbour infrastructure.

There was a suggestion that in order to be more effective, the workshops would need to be longer than the current half day sessions and ideally be held over a longer time period. However it was also acknowledged that although the workshop were short in duration, they built upon the OREC “Opportunities for Collaborative Action Report”.

It was proposed that the NSRI-led collaborative and cross-sector work from two years ago provides a useful model and the outputs of that work should be revisited.

Future of the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group

The Minister referred to the Terms of Reference which state that this group would meet for two years/up to eight meetings. There is now an opportunity to review the Terms including remit, membership, format, and frequency of meetings. There was limited time available to discuss these matters at the last meeting. Comments were invited from the group.

A number of members highlighted the importance of the Minister’s support and leadership and the value of this group’s discussions particularly during a challenging time for the sector.

It was suggested that the wider context including the global climate emergency and net zero pledges makes the value of this group, and the opportunity for marine energy, all the greater.

There was a proposal for the original Terms of Reference to be reviewed, with any changes informing decisions about the membership of the group.

Future priorities for discussion and development of the wider narrative should include grid and the role of marine energy as part of local energy systems.

There was a suggestion that the Scottish National Investment Bank should be invited to join the group or participate in a meeting. The proposal was supported by the group.

There was discussion about the importance of having readily accessible data and information as well as the need to further develop the sector’s commercial communication strategies.

Marine Scotland stated that they would welcome input from members to the draft offshore renewable energy decommissioning guidance, the consultation for which is open until 16 March 2020.

There was a suggestion about the possibility of having meetings or discussions outwith the minister’s involvement, which may encourage more involvement and discussion from group. The Minister agreed this could be useful. It was proposed that the sub groups or focused discussions could potentially explore specific issues and propose shared actions more effectively than in the current format of the group.

The Minister proposed that a representative of the group (or the next iteration of it) participates in a future meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board.

Action: Scottish Government to circulate Terms of Reference and seek further comments and suggestions from the group to inform the review. One further meeting of the current group to be arranged for spring 2020.

Marine energy events / forward look 2020

A short discussion took place about members’ plans and opportunities arising from key events this year including All Energy (13-14 May, in Glasgow), ICOE (19-21 May, in Washington DC) COP 26 (9-20 November in Glasgow) OEE (December, in Brussels).

It was agreed that COP 26 provides a significant opportunity to pull together as an industry and raise the profile of Scotland’s expertise and ambition. 

Other key events highlighted include the OPIN workshop in Edinburgh on 26 February and the Marine Energy Wales Conference to be held in Llandudno on 29 April. Plans for Scottish Renewables’ annual marine conference TBC.


Tony Laing provided an update on NSRI, including interest from and engagement with the Brazilian Government, working with SE in Japan with £31 million achieved in research and development projects, and a made reference to good transitional examples which could be incorporated into future potential sub groups.

Closing remarks and date of next meeting

Mr Wheelhouse thanked members for their participation and the meeting was brought to a close.

Action: SG officials to be in touch about date of next meeting.

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