Designation of Scotland’s new marine energy park will be a big boost to the offshore renewables industry, says one industrialist.

Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power which is developing its Oyster marine renewable energy device, says the new park – just opened by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker – underlines Scotland’s part in developing alternatives to fossil fuels.

“The new Marine Energy Park status will further strengthen the region’s reputation and will, we anticipate, help accelerate the industry’s ambitions for commercialisation of the technologies as well as investment in the sector,” McAdam declared in a blog on his company’s website.

He says: “The designation today of the Pentland Firth and Orkney area as a Marine Energy Park confirms what those of us in the industry already know – the north of Scotland is a world leader in wave and tidal technology.”

While recognition has come from the government, McAdam says it is up to regional enterprise agencies to ensure the park is a commercial success for renewable energy developers: “It will be down to local bodies, including the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Leadership Forum, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, developers, and the wider industry to make the most of this prestigious new status.”

And he emphasised that it will be important to maintain contact with the marine water park in the UK south-west which was opened back in January, off the coast of Cornwall.: “Collaboration with our sister park in the South West of England will also be key,” he says. “We need to capitalise on the new marine energy park designation to ensure that new investors are brought on board to develop commercial products and put project equity into the first small wave farms.”

More tax benefits are needed too, McAdam suggests: “New ways are needed to encourage investment within the park, such as tax incentives and accelerated capital allowances. There should also be a focus on securing regional, national and European funding to speed up technology development and support early stage projects. This funding could include European regional support and early access to the Green Investment Bank,” he adds.