Media Release: Stornoway to host international research conference


STORNOWAY will host an international conference on marine renewable technologies later this month.

Over 220 delegates are expected to attend the Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables conference and workshops at An Lanntair Arts Centre from Monday 28 April to Friday 2 May.

Organised by Lews Castle College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the event will be a forum for researchers and professionals to present their latest findings on the impact of marine renewable devices on the environment.

Speakers will look at topics including the impact of devices on marine fauna and flora and on human uses of the sea.

The event follows the first EIMR conference which took place in Orkney in 2012.

This year’s conference is part of Homecoming Scotland 2014 and is backed by the Natural Environment Research Council, Marine Scotland Science, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Visit Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the US Department of Energy and the US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

It is also being supported by organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, the Universities of Aberdeen and Heriot Watt, Aquamarine Power Ltd and Pelamis Wave Power.

The delegates, who are travelling from as far afield as Australia, China, America and Canada, have also been invited to take part in a programme of fringe activities on the day after the main conference, which includes field trips and tours.

Arne Vögler, a senior research engineer at Lews Castle College UHI, is organising the conference.

He said: “We are excited to host EIMR 2014 in Stornoway, close to the world’s largest fully-consented wave power project. An understanding of the interactions of marine energy converters with the environment is important to maximise development opportunities while sustaining the rich and diverse coastal habitats at our shorelines.

“This conference will allow the international research community to exchange experiences and findings from marine energy developments around the globe. We look forward to the interesting discussions between people from our coastal communities, researchers from national and international institutes and representatives from regulators and energy developers.”

Dr George Lees, policy and advice manager (marine renewables) at Scottish Natural Heritage, added: “Scotland’s seas are renowned for their diversity and abundance of wildlife.

“We also have some of the best wave and tidal resources in the world. This means we should identify options and opportunities for realising the needs of this growing sector while still meeting our environmental commitments.

“This conference is a focus for the latest worldwide research on predicting and describing wildlife responses to marine developments.”

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