Duke and Duchess on board the Orkney O2 tidal turbine (Credit: Colin Keldie)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in Orkney, Scotland, this week to learn about the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) role in developing an ocean energy industry and green hydrogen economy.

Their Royal Highnesses met with EMEC’s managing director, Neil Kermode, and external relationship manager, Eileen Linklater, to hear about the potential for ocean energy as a new sustainable energy resource stimulating job creation and supply chain development in coastal communities.

Heading out to sea, courtesy of the Royal Navy, the tour included an excursion to Orbital Marine Power’s O2 tidal turbine. Orbital’s CEO, Andrew Scott, provided a tour on board the O2 with the Duke and Duchess christening the device for good luck with a splash of Scapa Whisky.

Returning to shore, the royal couple visited EMEC’s hydrogen fuel cell and storage trailers at Kirkwall Pier, and were introduced to members of EMEC’s operations team. John Skuse, Jerry Gibson and Dave Wakefield shared stories of their progression from careers in hospital building and engineering, marine engineering and aviation to careers in ocean energy at EMEC, as well as providing an overview of the green hydrogen initiatives taking place in Orkney.

“It was a pleasure meeting the Duke and Duchess and introducing them to Orkney’s living laboratory for sustainability and renewable energy. Orkney is a beacon for the world, demonstrating technologies and solutions that will support decarbonisation and a cleaner, greener future,” said Neil Kermode, Managing Director, EMEC. “From wind, tidal and wave power to green hydrogen for clean carbon-free fuel, we were able to show Their Royal Highnesses sustainable solutions that will help tackle climate change and support green economic recovery, and introduce them to some of the people working in the sector locally. The activities taking place here at EMEC have attracted passionate people to stay in and move to Orkney to build their careers; the epitome of just transition in action.”

Andrew Scott, CEO, Orbital Marine added: “It’s hugely exciting for the whole team at Orbital to get the attention from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their trip to Orkney. Tackling climate change is something they’re clearly very passionate about so it is a real honour to get the opportunity to show them our innovative O2 turbine and give them an insight into our ambitions to help turn the tide on climate change here in the UK and overseas.”