Scotland officially launched its first marine energy park in Pentland Firth. Pentland Firth separates Orkney Islands from Caithness in the north of Scotland and the region is known for its turbulent waters with tides being among the fastest in the world.
The park aims to create investment and research opportunities in the marine energy sector. The park will house already established world’s leading European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which tests wave and tidal energy devices with developers from all over the world.
EMEC was established in 2003 with £30 million funding from UK and Scottish governments, local councils, and the European Union. It has 14 full-scale test berths for testing both wave and tidal energy converters. Companies like Scottish Power Renewables and E.ON use EMEC to test wave power capture machines.
The park will be jointly promoted by UK and Scottish government to attract private investment in the tidal and wave energy sector and marine energy student from universities.
The marine energy park was officially launched by UK Energy Minister, Greg Barker at the Caithness port of Scrabster.
Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters is the first area in UK to be made available for the commercial wave and tidal power development. The Crown Estate, a commercial property business firm, has awarded licences to developers to build up to 1.6 GW of marine energy capacity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney area, making it the largest wave and tidal development zone in the world.
UK’s energy minister, Greg Barker said, “Marine power is a growing green, clean source of power which has the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15 billion to the economy by 2050.”
He also said that energy from waves or tides has the potential to generate 27 GW of electricity alone in UK by 2050, which is equivalent to the power generated from eight coal-fired power plants. The UK government has also announced details of UK’s first marine energy park located off southwest England earlier this year.
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