Research work at Scottish universities has been a key driver in renewable technology development. Timothy O’Shea, Edinburgh University principal set out his views at the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference Dinner this week.
Here is his speech:
Scotland is an ambitious country and in a carbon-constrained world we need to be ambitious.
We need to realise the potential of Scotland’s natural resources, to reindustrialise and to seize the opportunities offered by the developing low carbon economy.
Scotland’s target of delivering 100% of its annual electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020 may be one of the most ambitious in the world but I’m sure that by working together, the people here today have a very real contribution to make to deliver that vision.
The University of Edinburgh has been a pioneer in renewable energy for decades. Ever since the 1970s, when Stephen Salter’s “Duck” first made its appearance, we have been a leader in marine renewables technology. Today we work closely with academic and commercial partners to drive forward Scotland’s renewable energy ambitions.
We are leaders in Marine Renewable Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage. We are innovators in Wind Power.
Several technologies which began life in our labs have become the foundation of flourishing Scottish companies:
Pelamis Wave Power: the world’s first commercial scale wave energy convertor to generate electricity to a national grid from offshore waves.
Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd, which was recently acquired by Mitsubishi to secure unique hydraulic power drive technology as part of £100 million investment in Scotland over next five years.
NGenTec Ltd: a novel light weight electrical generator technology for renewable energy application.
We have also established key strategic relationships:
We lead the Centre for Marine Energy Research (CMER) for the UK with core partners Strathclyde, Queens University Belfast and Exeter.
We lead the Scottish Hub for Advanced Power Engineering Design (SHAPED), funded by the Scottish Funding Council and European Regional Development fund and involving five key Scottish universities.
We lead the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) a ten year multimillion pound programme funded by RCUK and the Energy Technology Institute.
We are engaged in the ETP Knowledge Exchange Network in Energy leading the Marine Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage themes.
At the University of Edinburgh we recognise that developing new technologies is essential to the development of the renewable energy sector in Scotland. However, we also recognise that technology alone will not deliver the low carbon industrial revolution that we need.
That is why in January this year we launched the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. Supported by the Scottish Government, the Edinburgh Centre is a joint venture with Heriot-Watt and Napier universities. The Centre’s focus is on social and business innovation to complement Scotland’s existing expertise in technical innovation to tackle global challenges.
The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation will also become a leading hub in developing and delivering professional skills to support the rapid emergence of the low carbon economy. Helping business executives and policy makers to upgrade their skills and understanding of the rapidly changing opportunities and risks associated with a low carbon economy.
Its importance has already been recognised internationally. In January, 500 entrepreneurs and business people from across Europe attended its two-day Low Carbon Entrepreneurship and Innovation education course and the inaugural accompanying Showcase event. In February, a delegation of 20 senior Chinese officials visited the Edinburgh Centre for an intensive training programme in low carbon policies and implementation – the largest delegation of such leaders to have travelled overseas at any one time.
And what about the future?
In 2013, the University of Edinburgh is proud to be opening a brand new world class facility for research and development of marine devices. The All Waters Combined Wave and Tidal Test Facility will be the first of its kind in the UK.
With 360 degree symmetry of wave and current conditions, 20th scale model testing conditions, unrivalled control and repeatability and array testing capability. This national facility has an important role to play in de-risking the development and deployment of new marine devices.
Our vision is to work hand in hand with industry partners to transform the Wave and Tidal Test Facility from an important research tool into a world leading commercial test site, attracting global investment into Scotland and ensuring that Scotland remains at the forefront of the emerging marine renewable industry.
Scotland is an ambitious country, with ambitious targets for the renewable energy sector.
The enthusiasm and energy that is present in Scotland for renewables is a testament to everyone in this room and one we should all be proud of.
Certainly the University is very proud to be part of that series of partnerships encompassing business, academia, government and civil society to reach those targets and confirm this country as not only a world leading centre for renewable energy but also a country that delivers practical solutions to address the challenges of a carbon-constrained world.