Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on Scotland Office ministers to ensure that the European Marine Energy Centre in the Northern Isles continues to be fully funded by the UK government after the ending of EU funds. EMEC has played a key role in the development of marine renewables technologies in the UK through EU support but the future funding of the centre is still to be confirmed.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“The world-leading European Marine Energy Centre in Stromness was developed as a consequence of access to EU Interreg funding, money to which we no longer have access. Does the minister agree with me that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund should be the source of replacement funding for organisations like EMEC, that no longer have access to Interreg funding? And what's the Scotland Office doing to make that case within Government?”
Responding for the government, Iain Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland said:
“I'm very pleased to say that I had the pleasure of visiting Stromness last summer, and saw for myself the huge potential that Orkney has to lead the country in renewable energy. I continue to speak with the Leader of Orkney Islands Council, to explore all the ways we can help fund these exciting projects.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“After years of success putting the Northern Isles on the map for green energy innovation, it could be easy to forget that the success of EMEC did not come out of nowhere. Consistent support through EU funding has reaped dividends for our community and for the country as a whole. It is simply a no-brainer for the government to commit to continuing that backing in full – and I shall be making the case to the minister on this matter again.”