Scotland possesses a huge wave and tidal energy resource and the potential exists to generate more electricity than we currently need from the waters around the Scottish coast. Wave energy is intermittent but relatively predictable, whereas tidal current energy is intermittent but largely predictable. Some of the best resources are located off the north-west coast and northern tip of Scotland. The world's first commercial wave energy device is still producing power on the shoreline at Islay.
The Scottish Government believes that wave and tidal energy will make a very important contribution towards meeting our future demand for electricity. That is why we helped fund the construction of the European Marine Energy Centre in Stromness, Orkney. This centre is a world class faciliity for the development, testing and accreditation of marine energy generation and delivery systems.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of Scotland's marine environment for wave and tidal energy was announced on November 2004. The SEA will measure the impact wave and tidal devices have on the marine environment. It will also provide marine developers with data on the most appropriate and best locations to place wave and tidal devices. More information on the SEA can be found at: http://www.seaenergyscotland.co.uk.
The Scottish Government, in conjunction with government advisors the Sustainable Development Commission, has launched On Stream - a popular guide to tidal stream energy generation, designed to enthuse and inform debate in the dozens of Scottish coastal communities with real tidal power opportunities. Last year the Sustainable Development Commission undertook a comprehensive study of Tidal Power in the UK. The study found that tidal stream technology could provide 5% of the UK's electricity - 58% of this potential is around the Pentland Firth in Scotland. The study also found that for this resource to be harnessed the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney must be used to its full potential.
Additional information about Marine Licensing and Marine Energy is also now available in the Marine Scotland pages.