18 Jun 2009 05:06:03
North of Scotland to focus on marine energy
The north of Scotland aims to maintain its position on the cutting edge of marine energy following the announcement of a £14 million investment fund for skills development and research.
Funded in part by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the scheme will be used to support projects at Thurso, near Pentland Firth, one of Europe's primary marine energy sites.
Among the projects to receive funding is the Marine Renewable Energy and Environment research programme, which focuses on issues surrounding the development of marine energy.
Half of the money will be allocated to the Engineering Skills Centre, where training facilities will be established to aid engineers in the marine renewable energy sector.
Alex Salmond, first minister of Scotland, said: "The Pentland Firth, Scotland's Saudia Arabia of tidal power, has been opened up for development in clean, green energy.
"The interest, the capacity and the opportunity in these waters is vast. Already, the Crown Estate has been approached by 42 developers to put wave and tidal test devices into the Pentland Firth."
According to Scottish Renewables, the country's wave energy sector currently produces just 0.5MW of electricity, while hydro projects are responsible for 1,383MW of capacity.http://www.scottishrenewables.com/