ERI itself is located close to many key renewable energy resources, notably the Pentland Firth; the foremost tidal current resource in the UK. A major issue in theRenewableEnergy
development of all renewable energy industries are environmental uncertainties and concerns varying from “reliability of supply” linked to climate variability and vulnerability of the resource to fears of damage to the environment, fishing and tourism. In parallel with the economic redevelopment of the region, ERI will apply its environmental knowledge to assist in establishing sustainable industries sympathetic to the local environment and communities.

ERI research interests cover themes related to bio-energy, energy and communities, renewables and renewable integration. Marine energy, however, constitutes our main area of specialisation, and the one in which prospects for further developments, reinforcement of the knowledge base, research capacities and collaboration with the industry look more promising. Moreover, Scotland as a region represents a very fertile ground, thanks to the presence of other research organisations working in complementary areas (other energy fields for which excellent research is performed in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Research Priorities

  • Assessing available resources of marine renewable energy (tidal current, wave and offshore wind) around Scotland.
  • Understanding the effects of marine renewable energy devices on the environment.
  • Assessing the vulnerability of offshore installations to extreme weather.
  • Achieving an integrated view of energy generation, energy saving and society.
  • Understanding the inter-relationships of climate change, energy consumption and generation.




Marine Energy – Resource and Risk

  • Tidal resource assessment wave climate assessment
  • Device-environment physical interaction (measurement and modelling)
  • Modelling (including turbulence & array effects);
  • Climatology including Weather windowing (for installation & maintenance).

Marine Energy – Environmental and Ecological Interaction

  • Fish habitat use and migrations (special focus on salmonids i.e. Pentland Salmon Initiative)
  • Seabird ecology
  • Benthic interactions
  • Bio-fouling and non-native species
  • Underwater noise

Renewable Energy – Socio-Economics

  • Community engagement;
  • Energy balancing at regional & national scales
  • Relationship between climate change and energy


  • Biomass supply chains (marine and terrestrial)
  • Development of bio-energy tools
  • Life-cycle analysis
  • Carbon assessment (for anaerobic digestion, combustion, combined heat and power)

For more information on the research areas listed above please contact one of the following:
General enquiries: Dr Philip Gillibrand
Hydrodynamic modelling, physical oceanography and tidal energy: Dr Philip Gillibrand
Wave modelling and wave energy resource: Dr Philippe Gleizon
Sediment transport, seabed mapping and field surveys: Dr Jason McIlvenny
Colour sonar: Dr Duncan Tamsett
Remote sensing: Dr Lonneke Goddijn-Murphy
Seabird ecology and modelling: Dr Elizabeth Masden
Migratory fish ecology and modelling: Dr Diego del Villar
Bio-fouling and non-native species: Dr Jennifer Loxton
Benthic interactions and benthic habitats: Dr Marie-Lise Schlappy
Bio-energy: Dr Neil James or Dr Kenny Boyd
Energy balancing and climate change: Dr Andrew Commin