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Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Renewable Energy Forum

Welcome to the MASTS Marine Renewable Energy Forum

This Forum provides a platform for knowledge exchange, information, education and networking on marine renewable energy.
This Forum brings together expertise in relevant areas such as marine renewable development processes and dynamics, management, policy, social science and biodiversity.

Offshore wind turbines in calm water
Forum News & Resources
Background & Objectives

The Renewable Energy Forum replaces the previously named Marine Energy Forum and it also has a new sister forum for Oil & Gas. These changes address the fact that Scotland is a major international hub of activity and expertise for both marine renewable energy and the traditional oil and gas sector. These Forums will continue to develop a connected and successfully interacting community capable of delivering scientifically excellent and internationally leading research to inform the sustainable growth and operation of energy developments in the marine environment. The principal focus of the MASTS Marine Renewable Energy Forum will be the interactions between renewable energy production development and its operations with the marine environment. The focus will include an understanding that marine renewable energy has a duel role in mitigating climate change and enhancing energy security. Therefore interactions explored will be within an ecosystem approach framework to provide transparency in the trade-offs between renewable energy delivery and environmental change. This approach will require increased collaboration between ecologist, biologist, engineers, oceanographers, social scientists and economist as well as awareness across the science community of the end uses of this new knowledge in marine spatial planning, licensing and monitoring programmes.

Renewable Energy development in Scotland is entering in a new era and that is one of post demonstration projects. Developments are now moving from single devices to multiple initial subsets of arrays with the ambitions to expand to large-scale arrays in a few years’ time. What is essential for that transition is strategic and joined up approaches across academic, statutory and industry partners to assist in targeted multidisciplinary research to answer the current critical uncertainties that still remain in terms of potential direct interactions such as collision risks and barrier effects. What is also imminently needed is the design of strategic, hypothesis-led monitoring programmes for the longer term that address key constraining aspects of impact assessments. We must develop scientifically robust approaches to potential cumulative and more indirect ecosystem scale effects to deal with ecosystem level issues when we reach much larger scales of development across wind, wave and tidal industries. 

This proactive and strategic approach will be linked across MASTS Forums and Themes as ultimately we are all striving for the goal of clean, healthy, bio-diverse and productive seas at a level of good environmental status. In order to make the most efficient use of future large-scale data collection we need the definition of standardised methods and well-housed, transparent shared data-bases which will require the continuation and building of close collaborations between the developers, regulators and scientists.

ScotMER evidence maps – Marine Scotland has worked with industry, environmental NGOs, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, and other interested stakeholders, to map out the gaps in knowledge when assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of offshore renewable developments. Find out more.

Scotrenewables SR250 tidal turbine. Picture by Prof David Paterson.

Forum Activities

An animation commissioned by the Renewable Energy Forum (2021)

Webinar “Energy Innovation Emporium 2021: Accelerating the Contribution of Ocean Energy to Net Zero”
Lead by Gordon Hastie (University of St Andrews) in September 2021 and included MASTS Renewable Energy Forum members and speakers from ETP, IEA Ocean Energy Systems, Mocean Energy, Orbital Marine Power, Wave Energy Scotland, University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde.
Watch the Webinar Here!

Report “Addressing the ecological implications of offshore renewable energy developments across receptor groups – shaping future marine energy research”
Final report from the ScotMER and MREF MASTS Workshop (Oct 5, 2019) Read the report here!

Strategy “An Offshore Renewable Energy Environmental Research & Innovation Strategy for the UK”
The principal aim of developing this environmental R&I strategy for UK ORE, is to set out the high level environmental R&I priorities for the next five to ten years, together with measures for coordinating activity across the various funding organisations and key stakeholder interests, to ensure that the general direction of travel is towards developing a sustainable ORE industry. (December 2018) More on the Strategy Here!


Elizabeth Masden
– University of the Highlands and Islands

Dr | Research Fellow | Environmental Research Institute

Interests: Potential impacts of renewable energy (wind, wave, tidal), oil & gas and marine litter on the environment, particularly seabirds.

Gordon Hastie
– University of St Andrews

Dr | Principal Research Fellow | School of Biology

Interests: Risk balancing by marine predators | Use of dynamic habitats by marine predators | Impacts of marine renewable energy technologies

Coastaline with sand dunes and mountains
Steering Group

Beth Scott (University of Aberdeen), Jared Wilson (Marine Directorate), Cameron Johnstone (ETP), Jennifer Fox (ORJIP),  Natalie Isaksson (ERI, UHI) Katherine Whyte (BIOSS) and Mo Almoghayer (ORE Catapult).

MASTS Member Logos Marine Energy Forum
MASTS Resources

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you a suite of useful, and updateable, resources including: 

  • Find an expert
  • Find facilities & equipment
  • MASTS Publications


If you would like to be updated when the resources section is live please let us know.