Salmond to unveil tidal jobs boom

SCOTTISHPOWER and the Scottish government will unveil a multi-million pound investment in tidal energy this week that will secure a number of lucrative contracts for the country's manufacturers.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, will be in Oslo on Tuesday to launch what is thought to be the world's most technologically advanced turbine, developed by renewables firm Hammerfest Strom.

The 70-feet tall turbine will power a thousand homes and will be the first of a series to be rolled out over the next two years. It is thought that a number of contracts will be announced to build the turbines in Scottish yards, representing a vote of confidence in the country's engineering and renewables sectors.

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The announcement will be the second in a week following the launch in Invergordon last week of the world's largest tidal power turbine developed by Australian firm Atlantis Resources.

Hammerfest Strom UK has been working with Scottish firms and universities for months to design, develop, build and test a one megawatt device, the HS1000. It is believed it will be located in the north of Scotland.

HSUK set up in Scotland because of the potential for developing tidal energy. ScottishPower's parent Iberdrola and Norwegian firm Statoil have minority stakes in the company and will take a greater lead in building the next phase of turbines.

Scottish industry and the government see enormous potential in tidal energy and up to seven areas of sea around the country will be opened up for wave and tidal energy projects. The sites, all off the west coast, are attracting interest from international energy companies keen to cash in on the next phase of the renewables revolution.

Waters to the west of Shetland, north of Tiree, west of Colonsay and the far side of the Western Isles have been earmarked for the development of wave power. A site to the west of Kintyre, as well as two off Islay have also been proposed for tidal schemes.

This year leases were granted to seven companies for ten wave and tidal projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters. The decision was made by the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed.

The offshore renewables sector in Scotland is expected to generate thousands of jobs. By 2020, wave and tidal energy could employ 2,600, and the offshore wind sector some 20,000.

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