HIE’s year end results show strong push for wave energy

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has through its subsidiary Wave Energy Scotland approved £12.4 million in 2016/17 for wave energy development projects.

Reporting on its 2016/17 year end results, the Scottish government’s economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland said it provided financial boost for 17 wave energy technology development projects.

Over the past year, HIE also approved further investments in the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, and the new Orkney Research and Innovation Campus, a joint venture with the islands’ local authority.

The organization has also supported the MeyGen tidal energy project off the Caithness coast, which in 2016 saw the installation of all four turbines as part of its Phase 1A.

HIE said its investments during the year supported businesses and social enterprises across the region to create or retain 1,688 full time equivalent jobs.

Turnover among these companies is forecast to increase by £120.4 million over three years, and international sales by £79.5 million, HIE noted.

Lorne Crerar, HIE’s Chairman, said: “The continued oil and gas downturn, pressures on public sector budgets and uncertainties around EU membership have presented many challenges for the region. More and more we are seeing these challenges being met with innovation, ambition, entrepreneurship and resilience by the region’s businesses, social enterprises and communities.

“A key part of HIE’s role is to foster those qualities and target investment in initiatives that stimulate and enable growth.”

Details of HIE’s achievements over the year 2016-17 will be published in the agency’s annual report and accounts, which will be laid before the Scottish Parliament in the autumn.