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Scotland to make a big splash in marine energy

March 1, 2007 12:00 AM
By The Institution of Engineering and Technology in IET Engineering and Technology magazine
Deploying moorings for the Pelamis at European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney

Deploying moorings for the Pelamis at European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney

Scotland is setting a course to achieve global leadership in marine power generation. The Scottish Executive has named nine marine energy projects that will share grants worth more than £13m, including one that will be the world's biggest wave energy project to date.

Deputy first minister Nicol Stephen said the initial fund of £8m announced last October had been increased by £5.15m to meet demand. He also confirmed that Scotland has already reached its 2010 target of having 18% of its electricity generated from renewable sources, three years ahead of schedule.

"Scotland has the potential to generate a quarter of Europe's marine energy," said Stephen, "and kick-starting the sector is vital if we are to create a significant industry based in Scotland and meet our long-term renewables targets."

The largest grant goes towards Scottish Power's scheme to moor four floating generators, designed to convert wave movement into electricity, off the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

Due to be operating by 2008, the 160-metre Pelamis (Sea Snake) machines will provide around 3MW of green electricity, making this the world's biggest commercial wave farm. A test prototype has already been taken to Orkney from Leith by its operators, Ocean Power Delivery.

Scottish Power's director of renewables, Keith Anderson, said: "This is a massive step forward. It will be a test of the actual devices that will be used commercially and, if successful, should help propel Scotland into the forefront of marine energy throughout the world."

Most of the funded projects will be tested in and around EMEC, which itself receives funding to develop its facilities. EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: "The technology is moving forward, but we must never underestimate just how difficult - and expensive - an environment this is to work in. This solid support from the Executive underscores the need for long term, substantial investment from the public and private sectors. The rewards, in terms of jobs and the generation of a truly sustainable source of renewable energy will be enormous."

Funds For Scottish Renewable Projects

David Goodall's note to reader - This article outlines some the Scottish Parliaments action to increase renewable energy use led by the Deputy first minister and Liberal Democrat leader in Scotland Nicol Stephen. It is the Liberal Democrats in power which have forced the action on renewables that Labour south of the border have failed to do.