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EGP renews marine renewable energy push with Emec tie-up

Italian renewables giant and Scottish R&D hub targeting pilot projects to boost sector's 'credibility'

Renewables giant Enel Green Power (EGP) and Scottish R&D hub the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) have set in motion plans to develop marine energy demonstration projects, after signing a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in the sector.

Through the partnership, EGP – which has been running a wave prototype off Chile for several years link and in 2018 invested $12m in Australian outfit Carnegie – aims to bridge “a gap in independent marine energy testing against international standards” that would lead to the “development of increased credibility and trust” in the sector, which has suffered since several high-profile prototype projects ran aground earlier this decade.

“This cooperation will allow us to share our expertise and know-how on marine energy with EMEC, leveraging on lessons learned and internationally recognised evaluation standards, with the aim to explore future opportunities in the ocean energy sector,” stated Fabio Fugazzotto, EGP’s head of marine innovation.

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Rob Flynn, international development manager at EMEC, added, that there was clear industrial logic to the tie-up: “As an independent test lab, EMEC is at the cutting edge of assessing marine energy technologies. EGP is a global leader in renewables, and with first-rate technology due diligence processes.

“This project will help us learn from each other and drive the marine energy sector forward.”

Based in the Orkney Islands, EMEC has been on the front-line of testing programmes for many of the most promising wave and tidal power technologies, including Pelamis’ ocean-riding P2 concept and Aquamarine’s near-shore Oyster device, ran aground.

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The centre is about to start pre-commercial trials of Scottish company O2’s flagship Orbital unit, which recently received $4m from Edinburgh to fast-track the design to market, the first technology to win backing from the government’s Saltire Fund.

A recent study from advisory body ETIP Ocean concluded national-level revenue support remains “essential” if marine renewables including tidal, wave and ocean thermal power are to fulfill their potential to together generate 10% of Europe’s electricity consumption by mid-century.

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