Scotland's first marine energy park launched

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker will today launch Scotland's first designated zone for the development of marine energy.

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park will incorporate the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and is aimed at heightening the international profile of the region and its reputation as a leading player in the field of renewable energy. The site will become the second of its kind in the UK, following the launch of the South West Marine Energy Park earlier this year. According to Barker, it will build on collaborative partnerships in the region between government on the mainland and the Orkney Islands, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, as well as a cluster of local expertise and renewable resource in the area, to help speed up progress of marine power development. It is estimated that energy from waves or tides has the potential to generate 27GW of power in the UK alone by 2050, equivalent to the power generated from eight coal fired power stations. A move to marine power could also help cut emissions and tackle climate change. "It's great to see Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters confirm their place on the marine power map with the launch of the second of the coalition government's UK Marine Energy Parks," said Barker. "This park will help bring together local knowledge and expertise to spur on further development in this exciting industry. "Marine power is a growing green clean source of power which has the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15billion to the economy by 2050. The UK is already a world leader in wave and tidal power and we need to really capitalise on this to ensure energy from marine reaches its full potential in our future energy mix."