The waters of the Pentland Firth and Orkneys in the north of Scotland are to become a Marine Energy Park.
The Park will incorporate the world-leading European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), where a range of international organisations are testing wave and tidal energy devices.
The designation of the region as a Marine Energy Park is aimed at increasing its international profile and reputation as a leader in the field.
The Marine Energy Park will also build on existing partnerships between the Scottish Government, the Orkney Islands, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and local renewable energy enterprises to speed up the development of marine power.
“It’s great to see Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters confirm their place on the marine power map with the launch of the second of the Coalition Government’s UK Marine Energy Parks,” commented UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker welcoming the announcement.
“This area is already a vital part of the marine industry, thanks to its high tidal stream and wave resource,” he added. “This park will help bring together local knowledge and expertise to spur on further development in this exciting industry.”
Marine energy from harnessing wave and tidal power could provide up to 27 GW for the UK by 2050, create thousands of new jobs and give a £15 billion boost to the economy.
“The UK is already a world leader in wave and tidal power and we need to really capitalise on this to ensure energy from marine reaches its full potential in our future energy mix,” said Barker.
The move has been welcomed by UK renewable energy and environmental groups.
David Krohn, of trade association RenewableUK, said the UK was now “open for business” on marine power.
“We’re delighted to see the Government building on the enormous prestige of EMEC and creating another dedicated zone around it for wave and tidal developers to take forward their projects,” he said.
But while Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said the project is exactly what the UK needs to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, he warned that it is “just a splash in the ocean”.
The announcement follows the government’s confirmation last month that wave and tidal projects will now receive five Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), up from two ROCs, for developments up to 30 MW.
For further information:
Ocean Power Technologies and Lockheed Martin take wave power down under (12-Jul)
Scotland launches marine energy action plan (25-Jun)
Atlantis Resources to lead ETI tidal energy cost-cutting project (24-May)
Scotland launches £18 million marine energy fund (24-May)
02 August 2012