‘We need more action’ from government on wave and tidal, warns north-east MSP

Lewis Macdonald MSP, Scottish Labour. Debate on the Scottish Government's Just Transition Commission (JTC) to a low carbon economy.
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

A north-east MSP has warned that there needs to be more action from both the Scottish and UK governments to keep the country’s marine energy dream afloat.

Lewis Macdonald, Labour MSP for the north-east constituency, was speaking after his address to the Scottish Parliament yesterday where he highlighted the good work being done in the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Macdonald said “more wave and tidal devices have been developed in the highlands and islands of Scotland than the rest of the world together”.

The MSP said he “needs to see more action” from both the Scottish and UK Governments if the Highlands is to maintain its lead in marine energy innovation.

He said: “I think we need to see more action. Scotland has a lead in these areas at the moment or is certainly up there with the top countries in the world. We need to follow that up and that’s why today was important.

“Decisions lie with government at every level. In particular, the UK Government needs to recognise these are developing technologies that need support and are distinct from wind or solar which are much more developed.”

The north-east MSP was also keen to point out that – despite Scotland being at the forefront of both wave and tidal technology for the past 15 years – the country needs to take the technology to commercialisation if it has any real chance of success.

He said: “The European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney is probably the most important wave and tidal test centre in Britain, and arguably around the world. It’s a great source of wave energy and channels between islands are potentially very important for tidal energy. So, in terms of natural resource, we’ve got the best going really.

“The challenge is not innovation or natural resource, it’s commercialisation, and that’s been difficult.

“More devices have been tested here than anywhere else. If devices can achieve commercial rollout then Scotland’s coasts would be a good place to put them, but at the moment we’re not yet at a place where we can say that’s a done deal.”