Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have joined to launch a new renewable energy union to unite research efforts and create fresh opportunities. Ocean technology and energy will be key areas of focus.
The new Ocean Power Innovation Network will be led by Invest Northern Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Scottish Enterprise, all of which are state-run organisations designed to promote and further the use of green power.
The groups met recently in Dublin to review collaboration plans and to identify products that could be prioritised for technical knowledge sharing and development.
The hope is that the collaboration will provide greater access to expertise and knowledge, as well as providing a powerful value chain for the furthering of marine energy. They will pool resources to drive through existing and planned projects and encourage the firms involved to learn from each other to accelerate development of the sustainable economy.
The ocean resources shared by each nation are powerful and provide strong resources for green power. Although there have been a number of key progressions in the field to date, the real development of the industry is yet to come, with great hopes for the coming decade.
Existing world firsts include the tidal array already in Orkney, which has attracted EU funding for research and testing. The development has occurred whilst Brexit's implications remain unclear and the UK government has an uncertain position on its planned future subsidies of hydro, tidal, solar and wind energies. This contrasts with the governments of Scotland and Ireland, who have been more enthusiastic in their pursuit of green energy objectives.
Both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU but will be removed after the UK's decision, losing their funding for energy projects in the process.