Scotland business

Jobs hope for staff at collapsed wave power firm Pelamis

Pelamis P2 under construction Image copyright Pelamis
Image caption Pelamis has designed, built and tested wave energy converters

Some of the 56 staff at collapsed wave power firm Pelamis are to be offered jobs at a new technology development body being set up by the Scottish government,

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing made the announcement in a statement to MSPs.

The Scottish government plans to set up Wave Energy Scotland to encourage innovation in the industry.

Mr Ewing said it would bring the best engineering and academic minds together to work on furthering wave technology.

Edinburgh-based Pelamis, which had been testing its wave energy converters at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, went into administration last week after failing to secure enough funding to develop its technology.

'Best brains'

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Ewing said: "I am aware that the employees of Pelamis are some of the most advanced in terms of the engineering solutions for the wave energy sector.

"Wave Energy Scotland will be able to provide opportunities for employment for some of those experts in the sector.

"It will not be possible for Wave Energy Scotland to employ the numbers on the scale of the head count at Pelamis.

"But we do hope to seek to retain the best brains in Scotland."

Mr Ewing's comments came as opposition MSPs urged the Scottish government to do all it could to help the firm.

'Excellent foundation'

Orkney Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur welcomed Mr Ewing's announcement about the creation of the new body.

He said: "Given the details provided to parliament this afternoon, it seems that Pelamis would provide an excellent foundation for this new initiative.

"However, despite being pressed by a number of MSPs, the minister gave no firm undertakings about the support that would be available to Pelamis.

"This is disappointing, particularly for the employees directly affected, as well as the wider sector."

'Global pioneer'

Earlier, Green MSP for Lothian Alison Johnstone urged the Scottish government to intervene to secure the future of Pelamis.

She told MSPs: "Pelamis has been a global pioneer in wave technology and a leading Edinburgh company, which we cannot afford to lose.

"We hear so much about Scotland's renewable energy potential but we will not reap the rewards without support to turn research into commercially-ready technology."

The costs of running Wave Energy Scotland have yet to be outlined but the Scottish government said it "recognised a significant budget will be required over a sustained period to realise the benefits expected from the new entity".

It will be funded from the Scottish energy budget.

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