Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group minutes: October 2019

Minutes from Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group meeting, held on 22 October 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
  • Neil Kermode, European Marine Energy Centre
  • Gavin McPherson, Nova Innovation
  • Andrew Scott, Orbital Marine Power
  • Gavin Smart, ORE Catapult
  • Miriam Noonan, ORE Catapult
  • Jeremy Smith, QED Naval
  • Anna Kynaston, Scottish Government
  • Gordon Patterson, Scottish Government
  • Christopher Bruce, Scottish Government
  • 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
  • Graham Whitehead, National Subsea Research Initiative
  • Paul Smith, Marine Scotland
  • Keith Murray, QED Naval

Items and actions

1. Welcome and Introductions

Apologies were noted from:

  • Neil Gordon, Subsea UK
  • Bruce Buchanan, Marine Scotland
  • Jane Watters, Scottish Enterprise
  • Tony Laing, National Subsea Research Initiative
  • Simon Grey, AWS Ocean Energy
  • Remi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe
  • Elaine Hanton, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Jason Hayman, Sustainable Marine Energy

1.1. The Minister welcomed members to the 7th meeting of the group, followed by roundtable introductions.

1.2. The Minister remarked on the success of the recent Ocean Energy Europe conference & exhibition in Dublin and noted some of the key themes from the event, including increased interest in ocean energy globally and the importance of avoiding complacency in order to ensure Scotland maintains its competitive advantage.

1.3. The Minister noted some recent highlights across the sector including the announcement of funding to Orbital from the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund and the involvement of a number of the group in the TIGER project.

1.4. The Minister remarked that the outcome of the recent CfD round strengthens the case for offering dedicated support from the remaining budget to support wave and tidal energy. 

2. Minutes of last meeting

2.1. There were no corrections to the draft minutes which were approved and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

3. Revenue Support

3.1. The Minister noted the recent House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report which included a recommendation for the UK Government to examine the case for supporting IPPAs and setting minimum allocations of future CfD auctions to specific emerging technologies, including wave and tidal.  

3.2. The Minister acknowledged the work being coordinated by the Marine Energy Council on the revenue support case and asked Sue Barr to provide an update on progress.

3.3. Sue stated that there have been no significant change in the overall picture since the last meeting of this group.  A position paper further detailing the pathway to an IPPA for marine energy will be presented (as requested) to BEIS before the end of October, building on the work of the MEC as well as the RUK taskforce for floating wind. 

3.4. It is hoped that the UK Energy Minister will participate in next month’s meeting of the marine APPG, which would provide an opportunity to further make the case for the IPPA and appropriate CfD support.

3.5. Establishing a dialogue with Treasury continues to be challenging.  The possibility of engaging with the UK Ministers with responsibility for Innovation was discussed and will be considered further by the MEC.

3.6. The New Statesman plans to publish an article on wave and tidal energy. There was agreement that it would be helpful to ensure the Scottish perspective is represented. 

Action 1: Sue will seek to ensure the SG Comms team has an opportunity to consider a contribution to the article. 

3.7. The importance of utilising existing ROC accredited sites was raised and it was agreed that this was an area for further discussion.

3.8. It was noted that noted that the UKG is in an extensive period of consultation on its approach to decarbonisation. There was agreement that this presents an opportunity for the marine energy sector and that the messaging needs to be consistent, informed, and repeated as necessary.

3.9. The Minister emphasised the need for Ministers and officials to have access to up to date information and evidence of the challenges being encountered by the sector and of the subsequent impacts. 

3.10 The Marine Energy Wales ‘leakage’ report was highlighted as an example of previous collaborative and evidence-based activity on the impact of no revenue support for the sector.   Scottish Renewables and the MEC to consider further how to pull together similar evidence for Scotland.

3.11. It was suggested that the sector should seek to further engage and align with the Committee on Climate Change, building on the good working relationship between the Scottish Government and the Committee to try and raise the profile of marine energy as a technological solution for further iterations of CCC advice.

Action 2: Scottish Government officials to arrange a briefing session / joint event with sector representatives and the CCC

3.12. The Minister suggested that the narrative from the sector must include an analysis of the cost of failing to seize the economic opportunities presented by marine energy.  

4. Tidal Stream Collaborative Workshop

4.1. 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 support collaboration in Scotland’s tidal stream sector

4.2. The developers participating agreed the series should be valuable for the Scottish sector and wider supply chain, including providing an opportunity to learn lessons faster and cheaper than if left solely to the market, and to further strengthen the body of knowledge and capacity in Scotland.  It was noted that it is already generating discussion beyond the workshop forums which the ORE Catapult are running with support from the Scottish Government.

4.3. There was agreement that the System Reliability workshop, which took place in September, was likely to be the most challenging of the series, for reasons which include the sector being at a relatively early stage in terms of identifying meaningful empirical data trends. 

4.4. It is expected that the remaining workshops will produce more tangible outputs. It was agreed that the developers will present the outputs at the next meeting of the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group, in early 2020

Action 3: Collaboration Workshop presentation from technology developers at next meeting of this group

4.5. There was a proposal that the experience of Open Hydro, and potentially Voith, might provide some valuable input to the workshops.  Members are encouraged to contact Miriam Noonan at ORE Catapult to discuss further.

5. Future of the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group

5.1. The Minister referred to the Terms of Reference which state that this group would meet for two years/up to eight meetings.

5.2. To inform a review of the group the Minister invited comments on issues including the format of the group, delivery of the group’s purpose, whether there are people or organisations missing from the discussion, and how best to complement the work of the Marine Energy Council.

5.2. There was strong agreement about the value of the group in bringing key players together to agree priorities and strategies.  A significant number of members highlighted the importance of the Minister’s support and leadership, particularly during a challenging time for the sector. 

5.3. It was agreed that there had been limited time during the current programme to discuss some of the other priorities for the sector, given the urgency and importance of the revenue streams matter.  It was agreed that the sector has both a clearer sense of the path to commercialisation and significantly greater practical experience than at the start of the working group.

5.4.  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.

5.5. There was a suggestion that BEIS should be invited to join the group or participate in a meeting.  The proposal was supported by the group.

Action 4: BEIS rep to be invited to attend next meeting.

5.7. 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.

It was suggested that the group would benefit from having supply chain representation at certain meetings and agreed that an invitation could be extended as relevant to agenda items.

It was suggested that a review of membership was appropriate and should include consideration of the attendee record for the current group as a starting point.

6. International

6.1. Presentation by Henry Jeffrey on the Ocean Energy Systems (OES) programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA) (attached).

6.2. Sue Barr raised a question on whether there would be value in MEC setting up an information portal for the sector.  It was agreed that work should be done to consider the existing portals and that in fact it may just be a signposting exercise that is required.

6.3. In the context of Brexit, the Minister emphasised the importance of cross-border collaboration in the global effort to combat climate change.   The challenges of the EIB UK lending position was discussed briefly as was the potential future support for the sector from the SGs development of the Scottish National Investment Bank.

7. AOB

7.1. Tim Hurst provided an update WES progress, including interest from and engagement with the Oil and Gas Technology Centre and a reference to the importance to the O&G sector of continuous and secure supplies rather than (primarily) the cost of generation.

8. Closing remarks and date of next meeting

8.1. The Minister made the group aware of Anna Kynaston’s imminent move to a new role within SG, and thanked Anna for her pivotal role within the MEIWG since its formation and for her key work on the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.  The group also expressed its thanks for Anna’s significant contribution to the progress of the sector and wished her well for the future.

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

Action: SG officials to be in touch about date of next meeting, likely to be in early 2020.  

Update: the meeting will take place on 5 Feb 2020.  Further details to follow.

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