Marine Renewable Expertise


Breaking wavesThe University of the Highlands and Islands’ wave and tidal renewable energy research cluster is a multi-disciplinary group of international researchers.  Due to our location, in the heart of a highly energetic environment, our researchers have a special depth of understanding of the environment, the interactions and the key issues surrounding the interface between energy generation and the natural environments; be they marine, coastal or terrestrial.  

The university is home to the Marine Energy Research Innovation and knowledge Exchange Accelerator (MERIKA); an EU-funded project. This is bringing investment in new scientists, infrastructure upgrades at key locations, a knowledge exchange programme with leading European research institutions and promotion of collaboration and partnerships in the field of marine energy. In addition, an industrial engagement programme has been designed to build links with the business community and enhance innovation.

Overall our work covers, but is not limited to, these areas:

Resource and risk


  • Tidal resource assessment 
  • Wave climate assessment
  • Device-environment interaction(including turbulence and array effect)
  • Weather windowing 
  • Wave forecasting 
  • Sensor deployment


The effects of marine renewable devices on the environment and ecology


  • Interaction of fish with devices 
  • Migratory species (focus on salmon) 
  • Seabird ecology
  • Collision risks with marine life 
  • Acoustic footprint of devices
  • Bio-fouling, smothering and burial 
  • Reef effects of offshore structures Archaeological impacts 
  • Ecosystem impacts of devices
  • Survey techniques for wave and tidal sites

The social, economic and policy dimensions of marine renewable energy


  • Marine spatial planning 
  • Ecosystem services 
  • Environmental monitoring 
  • Social capital and the resilience of remote maritime communities
  • Evaluating energy policies


Marine and terrestrial geophysical survey


  • Auger surveys and analysis of geotechnical datasets 
  • Paleoenvironmental potential analysis 
  • Desk-based assessments, site evaluations, Historic Environment Impact Assessments
  • Laser scanning and geomatics
  • Sub-bottom profiling, sidescan sonar, gradiometry and resistance data - analysis and interpretation
  • Provision of marine and terrestrial historic environment management and mitigation strategies