Marine park to harness firth tides
SCOTLAND’S reputation as a global centre of renewable power will be enhanced this week with the unveiling in Pentland Firth of the UK’s second marine energy park.
The UK government will confirm it is to create its second such park in the waters south of Orkney, where developers are attempting to exploit some of the world’s fastest tides.
The aim of the new park, which will incorporate the existing European Marine Energy Centre, is to draw further international attention to the region in the hope of creating a “gold rush effect”, pulling in more investment and research.
Ministers believe that if the tidal technology can be harnessed commercially, marine energy could supply the same amount of electricity to Britain as eight coal-fired power stations by 2050.
The Pentland Firth has long been acknowledged as one of the most fruitful locations in the British Isles, with Alex Salmond having described it as the “Saudi Arabia of marine energy” due to the strength of the tidal races that sweep between the Caithness coast and Orkney.
Both the UK and Scottish governments are committed to substantial increases in the amount of electricity sourced from renewables. While marine energy is not yet commercially viable, there are hopes it could help provide a reliable regular source, without the controversy surrounding wind farms.
The UK’s first marine energy park was unveiled in south-west England, stretching from Bristol to the Isles of Scilly, south of Cornwall.
UK energy and climate change minister Greg Barker is to visit Thurso tomorrow to officially open the new park.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west