Scotland’s first Marine Energy Park in the area of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters will be launched by the UK’s energy minister today.
Scotland’s Marine Energy Park aims to heighten the international profile of the region and its reputation as a world leader in marine energy, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said. The park would also incorporate the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
The first UK marine energy park, in South West England, was launched in January this year.
DECC said energy from waves or tides had the potential to generate 27GW of power in the UK alone by 2050, equivalent to the power generated from eight coal fired power stations. A move to marine power could also help cut emissions and tackle climate change, it said.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “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.
“This area is already a vital part of the marine industry, thanks to its high tidal stream and wave resource. This stretch of water is also home to the European Marine Energy Centre, currently unrivalled anywhere else in the world. This park will help bring together local knowledge and expertise to spur on further development in this exciting industry.
“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 £15bn to the economy by 2050.
“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.”
Leader of the Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry said: “The Highland Council has been a key partner in the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters wave and tidal programme since its earliest days, so we welcome this further recognition of the international significance of the marine resources in the north.
“We are particularly pleased to see the launch of the Marine Energy Park at the new state-of-the-art Engineering, Technology & Energy Centre in Thurso, where the next generation of marine engineers and technicians are already being developed. Together with our partners we continue to support the growth potential of marine energy for the economy of our area.”
DECC said the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters was already a vital part of the UK’s growing marine sector and was home to some of the best wave and tidal resource in the country as well as home grown marine expertise. The stretch of water was also the site of the world’s first commercial scale leasing round for marine energy.