New units open for business
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) invested £2.95 million, including £1.18 million from the European Regional Development Fund, to create the units on a vacant industrial site next to Hatston Pier, Kirkwall.
Each unit provides workshop, storage and office accommodation to meet the needs of tidal energy developers using the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) test site off the island of Eday.
Established with HIE’s backing in 2003, EMEC is helping establish Orkney as a global centre for marine energy research and development. Worldwide, it is the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy.
The development of the units follows consultation with EMEC, which identified a clear need for new facilities to service the needs of its developers. Hatston is an ideal location for developers testing technology at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site.
HIE is taking out a 99 year lease on the 2.5 acre site, which is owned by Orkney Islands Council. EMEC itself will use one of the units and there is already interest from developers.
When fully occupied, the six units are expected to support up to 35 jobs. Each has been designed flexibly so it can be adapted to the needs of individual occupants.
Ken Grant, HIE's Area Manager for Orkney, said: "It is already well known that Orkney is a world class location for cutting-edge wave and tidal energy technology research and development.
"To reap the benefits for our economy, we must ensure the infrastructure is in place, and up till now there has been a gap in the provision of suitable premises for tidal energy developers in the Kirkwall area.
"Now that the facilities have been completed, we can ensure that the area meets the needs of this emerging sector.”
Neil Kermode, managing director at EMEC, said, "These units form an integral part of EMEC and Orkney's support for international developers, upon which the future potential of wave and tidal energy production is dependant.
"We are extremely grateful to HIE for taking the lead in providing these much needed facilities at a time when there has been an obvious lack of suitable premises.”
For further detailed information on the units, interested parties should get in touch with Harvey Stevenson at HIE: email@example.com