North Scotland Looks to Lead in Marine Energy

The North of Scotland strengthened its reputation as the hub of the global marine energy industry last week week, with the announcement of a £14 million investment for energy-related skills development and research projects.

The projects will be based at the North Highland College UHI in Thurso. Positioned beside the Pentland Firth, one of Europe’s principal marine energy resources, the college will be developing a research projects centered on marine energy and the environment, a new Centre for Engineering Skills and a Centre for Energy and the Environment.

First, The Marine Renewable Energy and the Environment research programme (MaREE) will be built in collaboration with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) near Oban in Argyll. This £4m research project will be led by the Environmental Research Institute-North Highland College and focus on issues surrounding marine energy development in Scotland. Providing 17 FTE jobs including six PhDs, it will look into aspects such as grid constraints, design expertise, environmental impacts and synergies between the oil and renewable industries.

Delivery of the MaREE project will require expansion of the ERI’s current premises, a £3 million project. Consequently a brand new campus building will be attached to North Highland College UHI. It will also be used as a teaching facility offering post-graduate qualifications such as MSc Environmental Management and Renewable Energy. In addition it will provide space for the ERI’s long-term growth options, commercialisation and for spin-outs and small scale inward investment.

Subject to planning approval this new centre will work alongside the CfEE to deliver high class training facilities both for the immediate need for decommissioning skills at the Dounreay nuclear site, as well as those for future sustainable development, focusing on marine renewable energy in particular. The £7 million project will become a hub of vocational skills for science and engineering developments.

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