All forms of marine energies (like tidal and wave power, marine current power, OTEC and osmotic power) are still in its infancy and need further development in order to gain competitivity and efficiency. Their potential in terms of amount of energy generated is huge, specially in some locations with high tides, waves or other special circumstances and the only thing preventing them to compete with the rest of energy sources is its technological development.
The way for the marine energies to deploy its potential is to receive investments either from public sector or private industries. In this way they will be able to advance and create the necessary R&D for them to create prototypes, improve current technological limitations and test new devices that harness better the energy from the waves or from the tides.
EMEC is a not for profit, private company established by several organisations (The Carbon Trust, Orkney Islands Council and Highland and Islands Enterprise Development Trust) to provide to the electricity converters and researchers with the opportunity to test full-scale grid-connected prototype devices in wave and tidal conditions. The organisation has a test research center focused on marine energy development based in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK.
The research center was established in 2003, in the excellent location of Northern Scotland, where strong tidal currents happens and grid connection and sheltered harbour facilities are available as well as a growing renewable, maritime and environmental expertise and interest exists within the local community. To date, around £30 million of public funding has been invested in the Centre by the owners and the Scottish Government, UK Government, Scottish Enterprise and the European Union.
EMEC has many clients taking advantage of their installations and testing prototypes and devices, some of them are big and important companies with interests in marine energy field such as: Alstom, Pelamis Wave Power, Bluewater, Aquamarine Power, Seatricity, DCNS (Openhydro), Atlantis, Voith and Wello Oy among others.
BIMEP (Biscay Marine Energy Platform) is a similar reasearch center, under construction in Northern Spain. When operation starts, it will provide WEC (Wave Energy Converter) manufacturers with the opportunity to install and test their equipment in open sea conditions. The natural conditions of the Cantabrian sea are fabulous for that purposes.