Planners have given the green light to proposals at the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and funding is now in place to start the work.

The expansion will include testing facilities for equipment that will convert tidal power into useable energy.

Jim Wallace, deputy first minister for the Scottish Assembly and minister for enterprise, said: “Harnessing the power of the sea will be crucial if we are to meet our renewable energy targets, namely that 40% of electricity generated in this country should come from a wide range of renewable sources by 2020.

“The news that all funding is now in place to extend EMEC is an important step in the right direction.

“”I look forward to hearing news of the innovative tidal power generators that will be tested in Orkney.

“I know we all share the hope that these devices, or their successors, will play a major part in meeting Scotland’s future energy needs.”

EMEC opened last August and already tests wave energy conversion devices.

The new tidal project will be sited at the Fall or Warness off the outlying island of Eday.

The £6 million project will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Executive, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney Enterprise, Department of Trade and Industry, Scottish Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council.

The Carbon Trust is providing funding towards running costs of the scheme.

Sandy Cumming, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “We and our partners are delighted that EMEC is becoming a world leader in marine energy and that this next phase will consolidate its internationally renowned reputation.
“No other facilities of this kind exist in the world.

“Scotland is currently at the forefront of research and commercialisation of wave and tidal power and with some of the best wave and tidal sites for testing commercial-scale devices we must take full advantage of the opportunity this offers and the benefits it can bring to the area.”

by Sam Bond

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