Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group minutes: June 2019

Minutes from Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group meeting, held on 18 June 2019.

Attendees and apologies

•    Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
•    Neil Kermode, European Marine Energy Centre
•    Elaine Hanton, Highlands & Islands Enterprise
•    Janelle Braithwaite, Marine Scotland
•    Christoph Harwood, Simply Blue Energy
•    Tony Laing, National Subsea Research Initiative
•    Gavin McPherson, Nova Innovation
•    Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe
•    Andrew Scott, Orbital Marine Power
•    Gavin Smart, ORE Catapult
•    Miriam Noonan, ORE Catapult
•    Jeremy Smith, QED Naval
•    Jane Watters, Scottish Enterprise
•    Gordon Patterson, Scottish Government
•    Craig Frew, Scottish Government
•    Stephen Corrie, Scottish Government
•    Hannah Smith, Scottish Renewables
•    Laura Fidao, SIMEC Atlantis
•    Henry Jeffrey, University of Edinburgh
•    Tim Hurst, Wave Energy Scotland
•    Nathan Bennett, Renewable UK (via telephone)

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

Apologies have been noted by:

  • Sue Barr, Marine Energy Council
  • Patrik Moller, Cor Power
  • Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables
  • Neil Gordon, Subsea UK
  • Heikki Paakinen, Wello
  • Sian Wilson, Crown Estate Scotland
  • Jan Reid, Scottish Enterprise
  • Bruce Buchanan, Marine Scotland
  • Sue Kearns, Scottish Government
  • Anna Kynaston, Scottish Government

1.1. Mr Wheelhouse welcomed Laura Fidao from SIMEC Atlantis to the group, and thanked Christoph Harwood for stepping in to present the Marine Energy Council update.

2. Minutes of last meeting

2.1. Point 4.6 from the minutes were discussed and will be amended for clarity. There was agreement that it is appropriate for the private sector to lead on supply chain mapping activity and that some activity has been carried out.  Collaborative workshops will provide an opportunity to explore this issue further, including who might be best placed to coordinate for the marine sector.

2.2. It was noted that Renewable UK has a supply chain map on its website, and that the Catapult’s website has a database of suppliers.

2.3. There was agreement that other sectors can provide useful input on supply chain and skills issues for the marine industry.

  • Action 1: As part of the collaborative workshop programme, members will consider how best to map the marine energy supply chain.

3. Marine Energy Council update

3.1. Christoph Harwood provided an update on MEC activity and next steps, including the Energy White Paper, the Comprehensive Spending Review, the review of CfDs, and Ministerial engagement.  A total of 91 MPs signed a letter to Claire Perry requesting that marine energy is included in the White Paper.

3.2. The MEC continues to press for an announcement of support in the Autumn Budget and for a meeting with George Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.  

3.3. Mr Wheelhouse advised that he has written to the BIES Minister of State, Chris Skidmore, to request clarity on the White Paper. He also confirmed that the Scottish Government has been joined up with counterparts in Wales in stating the case for revenue support.  

3.4. There was discussion about the difficulty of calculating the system benefits of wave and tidal energy at a time of a significant level of change and uncertainty about the future energy system.  

3.5 The group noted that while articulating the system benefits of marine energy was important, a higher level message around the value of a mixed portfolio of renewable technologies in the future energy system may have more impact. 

3.6. There was agreement about the value of the System Operator further clarifying its long term approach, which will provide the context for developing the marine energy narrative. 

Action: Scottish Government and Scottish Renewables to discuss recent and proposed future engagement with National Grid.  

3.7. Members highlighted the innovation taking place in the marine sector in Scotland including integration with other technologies and noted that there is a strong narrative emerging on local system and economic benefits.  

3.8. There was agreement that there could be benefits to establishing closer links with the floating offshore wind sector which is similarly seeking innovation support, though it was noted that the sectors could be competing for the same support mechanisms. 

4. ORE Catapult report tidal stream: opportunities for collaborative action

4.1. Presentation from Miriam Noonan. A paper on the proposed workshops was circulated in advance of the meeting.

4.2. There was agreement from the group on the potential value of the workshops and a clear willingness to work together for the benefit of the marine energy sector as a whole. It was noted that the input and expertise of both EMEC and WES would be particularly helpful.

4.3. Questions were raised and discussion took place on issues including the appropriate format and length of meetings. The group acknowledged that technical/engineering input was important to the success of the workshops and that such attendees need to be empowered to input constructively to discussions. 

4.4. There was agreement on the benefit of attending in person when possible rather than taking part remotely.

4.5. There was discussion about whether and how to bring in experience from outside Scotland, and potential synergies with groups such as ETIP Ocean. The group agreed that an initial focus on Scottish based companies was appropriate. 

4.6. There was a suggestion that each workshop should broadly seek to address:  ‘why are we asking this question?’, ‘what can we do about it?’, and ‘what is the benefit to Scotland?’

4.7. A decision needs to be taken as to whether information sharing would be open to all or if filter would apply to allow more experienced stakeholders to benefit from their previous investments. This would be considered as part of the initial terms of reference workshop session.  

4.8. Approval from industry members will be required before any information, minutes etc. are made public.

4.9. Members are referred to the NSRI paper on Wave & Tidal Transformational Opportunities from the Subsea Sector 

4.10. The Minister thanked the Catapult and members of the group for their work to date in preparing the framework for the workshops 

  • Action: Catapult and SG to finalise the proposal and arrange a terms of reference meeting.

5. Ocean Energy Europe update

5.1. Ocean Energy Europe has published statistical data showing progress of wave and tidal energy over time. They hope for this data to be issued annually and to be useful resource for European Commission.

5.2. Their Powering Homes Today, Powering Nations Tomorrow publication showed the 5 stages of development and also the challenges faced. 

5.3. State Aid rules are due to be reviewed in autumn. This may prove helpful when looking at blending of finance for projects.

5.4. There will be a Workshop 10th July on Project Finance in Brussels.

5.5. Guaranteed revenue will help to lower costs of finance and capital expenditure.

5.6. Funding has been secured to appoint three Ocean Energy Advocates in UK, France and Netherlands.

6. Wave Energy Scotland 

6.1. Tim Hurst provided an update of considerable recent progress and the next steps for the WES programme.

7. Ocean Energy Europe Conference

7.1. The Minister encouraged the group to consider how they will each be engaging with the conference and highlighted the value of having a strong, collaborative presence.  He proposed a group photo and use of social media to raise the profile of Scotland’s participation in the event.

7.2 The group noted the challenges of engaging across European partners at such a critical time in the EU-exit process. Future access to a number of key EU funding mechanisms such as the Innovation Fund and Horizon Europe still remain uncertain. The Minister noted that the Scottish Government’s position remains to ensure an appropriate future UK relationship with the EU on Science and Innovation including establishing a relationship on the UK’s involvement in Horizon Europe, the successor to Horizon 2020 which will run from 2021-2027.

7.3. It was noted that UK needs to remain in the ETS to qualify for Innovation Fund. The Minister noted that the UK government are currently consulting on UK government’s and the devolved administrations’ approach to UK carbon pricing following EU Exit, with the consultation due to close on 12th July. 

  • Action: Members to keep Norma Hogan at HIE and Gordon Patterson at Scottish Government informed of plans for OEE 2019, networking opportunities etc: / 
  • Action: SG will circulate the list of agreed Scottish Messages from OEE2018 as basis for similar shared narrative for this year’s event. 

8. AOB

8.1. Scottish Renewables Marine Conference will be held 9-10 September 2019 in Inverness. 

8.2. The group approved a request from Sustainable Marine Energy to participate in the remaining meetings. This was agreed by the group. 

8.3. Neil Kermode highlighted that Royal Society of Edinburgh has published its Scotland’s Energy Future report

  • ACTION: SG officials to be in touch about date of next meeting, likely to be in advance of OEE2019
  • ACTION: The Minister proposed that a discussion on the future of the group is added to the agenda for the next meeting, which will be the seventh of an eight meeting programme
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