The Highlands’ lead in Scotland’s renewable-energy industry was recognised last night at a sellout event celebrating the sector.
Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) was recognised through an accolade for Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for best public-sector initiative.
Since being set up with the help of HIE in 2003, Emec has attracted international developers of wave and tidal-energy devices.
Emec’s development has also led to significant investment in infrastructure, such as the port at Lyness, and international agreements to help countries including Taiwan and China in their development of marine energy.
Last night’s Scottish Green Energy Awards, organised by Scottish Renewables (SR) and held in the National Museum, in Edinburgh, were attended by about 1,000 people from the industry.
In the keynote speech, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK is a world leader in green energy and Scotland is at the heart of this.
“From the work in Orkney on tidal (and) wave energy to the new catapult centre in Glasgow, Scotland’s renewable-energy industry is a vital part of the UK’s energy sector.
“The industry supports thousands of jobs and investment is on track to top £1billion in 2012.
“This has been facilitated by collaboration in our universities and research institutes, commitment at all levels of government and business to secure investment and the hard work of those drilling piles and assembling kit in the North Sea.”
Other award winners included Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson, who was named best politician.
Nigg Skills Academy was recognised for its contribution to skills and training, Aberdeen firm ROVOP won the business growth award and Edinbane onshore windfarm – operated by Vattenfall – came away with the honour for best project.
Judith Patten, the founder of the annual Granite City-based All-Energy exhibition and conference, was presented with an honour for outstanding contribution to the industry.
All-Energy – held each May – has grown into the UK’s largest renewable-energy gathering since being launched 12 years ago, attracting more than 8,000 people from more than 50 countries this year.
SR chief executive Niall Stuart said: “The winners reflect the huge strength we have in Scotland’s homegrown renewable-energy sector, in our supply chain and in the individuals that have all worked incredibly hard to make it another successful year for the industry.”