Jenny Hogan: An exciting new chapter – and we are at forefront
THERE can be no doubt about the significance of this: Scotland is now home to the most ambitious plans of any country in the world to harness wave and tidal power, and firmly in the lead to build a new industry to develop these technologies.
This is the beginning of an incredibly exciting new chapter in the development of renewables, not just in Scotland but internationally.
The lease agreements mean we could see 1.2GW of wave and tidal generation in operation by 2020 – equivalent to the capacity of either of Scotland's two nuclear power stations. This is well beyond what was anticipated, and way above the plans of any of our competitors in this area, such as Portugal and Canada.
The power generated will deliver a massive reduction in carbon emissions. It will also bring a huge economic boost to remote and rural parts of the country, which have captured little of the value of recent growth sectors like financial services and digital media.
To take these developments from the drawing board to deployment will take 3-4 billion of capital investment, creating about 5,000 highly skilled and highly paid jobs in design, fabrication and manufacturing.
Our lead in the race to develop the industry on a commercial scale creates the opportunity to sell hardware and consultancy services around the globe.
But none of this can be taken for granted. The leases are little more than boxes on a chart. The hard work of navigating the planning process and developing larger and more efficient technologies begins now. The Beauly-Denny upgrade guarantees a route to market in the Central Belt, but there is still work to be done on local grid connections, and the thorny issue of transmission charges.
We have to be realistic about timescales and the inevitable setbacks along the way, but the tide is firmly behind Scotland as we seek to harness the power of the seas.
• Jenny Hogan is director of policy at Scottish Renewables.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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