Marine Energy Forum

The Marine Renewable Energy Forum replaces the previously named Marine Energy Forum and it also has a new sister forum for Oil & Gas (more details on this in 2015). These changes address the fact that Scotland is a major international hub of activity and expertise for both marine renewable energy and the traditional oil and gas sector. These Forums will continue to develop a connected and successfully interacting community capable of delivering scientifically excellent and internationally leading research to inform the sustainable growth and operation of energy developments in the marine environment.

The principal focus of the MASTS Marine Renewable Energy Forum will be the interactions between renewable energy production development and its operations with the marine environment. The focus will include an understanding that marine renewable energy has a duel role in mitigating climate change and enhancing energy security. Therefore interactions explored will be within an ecosystem approach framework to provide transparency in the trade-offs between renewable energy delivery and environmental change. This approach will require increased collaboration between ecologist, biologist, engineers, oceanographers, social scientists and economist as well as awareness across the science community of the end uses of this new knowledge in marine spatial planning, licensing and monitoring programmes.

Renewable Energy development in Scotland is entering in a new era and that is one of post demonstration projects. Developments are now moving from single devices to multiple initial subsets of arrays with the ambitions to expand to large-scale arrays in a few years’ time. What is essential for that transition is strategic and joined up approaches across academic, statutory and industry partners to assist in targeted multidisciplinary research to answer the current critical uncertainties that still remain in terms of potential direct interactions such as collision risks and barrier effects.

What is also imminently needed is the design of strategic, hypothesis-led monitoring programmes for the longer term that address key constraining aspects of impact assessments. We must develop scientifically robust approaches to potential cumulative and more indirect ecosystem scale effects to deal with ecosystem level issues when we reach much larger scales of development across wind, wave and tidal industries. This proactive and strategic approach will be linked across MASTS Forums and Themes as ultimately we are all striving for the goal of clean, healthy, bio-diverse and productive seas at a level of good environmental status. In order to make the most efficient use of future large-scale data collection we need the definition of standardised methods and well-housed, transparent shared data-bases which will require the continuation and building of close collaborations between the developers, regulators and scientists.

Dr Scott, will take on the leadership of the Forum. Dr Scott has been working on issues of identifying and defining critical marine habitats; those locations in space and time that are essential for the effect transfer of trophic energy and are locations of high encounter rates between predator and their prey. In an era of increasing anthropogenic use of our oceans, it is essential to more mechanistically understand mobile animal usage of our seas. Dr Scott and her team have well established collaborations with many of the leading tidal-stream and wave developers within a range of RCUK funded projects as well as Scottish and UK regulators and advisors.

Forum Convenor: Dr Beth Scott

Deputy Forum Convenor: TBC

Steering Group: Ben Wilson (UHI-SAMS); Francesca Marubini (Hartley Anderson); Annie Linley (Independant); Ian Davies (MSS); Jonathon Hodges (ETP), Elizabeth Masden (UHI), George Lees (SNH), Ian Hutchison (ORJIP)

Scotrenewables SR250 tidal turbine. Picture by Prof David Paterson.

View the UK end user engagement diagram for offshore renewables

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