Wave and tidal energy are emerging industries, with many technologies at an early development stage.
Scotland has an estimated 10% of Europe's wave power and 25% of tidal power, putting it in an ideal position at the forefront of this emerging sector. The Scottish Government is actively working with key stakeholders, such as local authorities and the Crown Estate, to harness this resource in a sustainable manner.
In 2007, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of marine renewables was published, which provided an assessment on the impact wave and tidal devices have on the marine environment. Since then, Marine Scotland has been developing programmes of work to inform industry, regulators and stakeholders on the most appropriate and best locations to place wave and tidal devices around the coast of Scotland. This programme of work will support development of projects competing for the Saltire Prize and the projects identified within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters strategic leasing area and to inform future marine licensing decisions.
Marine Scotland have published two reports in support of the Saltire Prize Programme. These provide developers and regulators with the necessary information in order to take forward potential developments within The Crown Estates Further Scottish Leasing Round:
- Scoping Study, published on 23 March 2010, identifying the potential additional areas for leasing was published;
- Regional Locational Guidance, published on 22 September 2010, detailing the areas of Scotland's seas considered as most appropriate for development of wave and tidal energy.
Marine Scotland Interactive also contains survey data to assist in wave and tidal energy site selection. A significant programme of research is also underway to inform future licensing decisions and to provide environmental data on potential species and habitats interactions.
On 17 March 2011, the Scottish Government provided consent to the Sound of Islay tidal stream array, the largest consented tidal array in the world.