The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland and Welsh Government have announced they will be funding Aquatera Ltd and their delivery partners MarineSpace and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to run a secretariat function for the new Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP) for Ocean Energy.
Building upon the successful model developed by the ORJIP for Offshore Wind, the programme will bring industry, regulators, funders and researchers together so that the wave and tidal energy sectors’ consenting risks can be addressed in a strategic and co-ordinated manner, avoiding duplication of efforts and in turn leading to a reduction in delay to projects.
Whilst ORJIP Offshore Wind and ORJIP Ocean Energy will be managed separately, the consistency of the ORJIP brand will facilitate knowledge sharing between the different sectors, the Crown Estate said.
The aim is that ORJIP Ocean Energy will work by:
• helping organisations whose role it is to fund and manage research to do so efficiently and effectively by bringing together knowledge and expertise on needs and practicalities from industry, regulators and the wider sector;
• making this knowledge available in a way that can be readily understood and acted upon;
• providing a funded Secretariat to co-ordinate creating and sharing the information and encourage action; and
• supporting project developers by co-ordinating research and monitoring to ultimately assist with commercialisation.
Carl Sargeant, Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources said: “Ocean Energy, be it tidal or wave based, forms a vital part of the energy mix and is something which we are committed to maximising as we work towards a low carbon future for Wales. By working together, this partnership can address many of the environmental issues faced by developers and regulators across the UK. This will result in a fairer, safer and more effective system for all and will speed up the consent process for marine renewable projects.”
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Scottish Government said: “This new joint industry programme demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to work with the wave and tidal sectors, national and international partners, to enable the successful and sustainable development of the marine renewable energy industry. Scotland will be able to share its experience and contribute to a collaborative programme that seeks to addresses the priority challenges so these sectors can move towards realising their potential as sustainable low carbon energy sources.”
Ronnie Quinn, Head of Ocean Energy at The Crown Estate, said: “As manager of the UK seabed, we recognise the benefits of industry and partners working more effectively together to overcome common challenges to help unlock the UK’s significant tidal and wave energy resources. By taking a more strategic approach through the ORJIP for Ocean Energy to de-risking the consent process and sharing learning across industry, we can help support progress towards commercial-scale projects.”
Ian Hutchison, Senior Consultant (Head of Offshore Development), Aquatera Ltd, said: “Aquatera are delighted to have been appointed to run the Secretariat role for ORJIP Ocean Energy with our delivery partners MarineSpace and EMEC. Through active engagement with industry, regulators, academia and other key stakeholders around the world, ORJIP Ocean Energy will play a pivotal role in ensuring that a strategic and coordinated approach is taken to addressing the key consenting risks facing the wave and tidal energy sectors, reducing risk for future arrays.”
ORJIP Ocean Energy will have two workstreams within it, to cover wave and tidal separately. This will ensure the industries’ different issues, timescales, needs and approaches are recognised and dealt with appropriately, whilst also ensuring that the similarities and opportunities for joint working are realised.