The £40 million project is currently the largest of its kind in the world and will generate enough electricity for over 5,000 homes and eight distilleries and maltings on the island.

The 10 megawatt facility will be built by ScottishPower Renewables will further develop emerging tidal energy technology.

The Scottish government has a target to meet 80% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In 2009 27% of electricity demand in the region came from renewables.

WWF Scotland welcomed the news of the project saying that it would help the nation phase out coal and nuclear in favour of clean energy sources.

A report they released last year estimated that by 2030 renewable energy could meet between 60% and 143% of Scotland’s projected annual electricity demand.

WWF Scotland director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “Approval for this scheme is a further feather in Scotland’s cap when it comes to renewable energy.

“Alongside energy saving measures, wave and tidal energy will have a critical role to play in helping Scotland reduce climate emissions and phase out polluting coal and nuclear power.

“Given the huge renewable energy potential around our coast, and the strong skills in offshore engineering, marine energy offers a fantastic opportunity for Scotland.”

Alison Brown

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