Scotland Calls for UK to Back Marine Energy

Scottish Renewables has issued a call for the UK energy industry to work with the Scottish Executive to find a workable approach to supporting wave and tidal energy and deliver the prize of a world-leading renewable industry in Scotland.

The group says that industry is ready to deliver up to 160 megawatts (MW) of wave and tidal projects by the end of 2010, enough to meet the electricity needs of approximately 90,000 homes, if the Scottish Executive and UK Government work together on financial support, grid access and project consents. Currently only 0.27 MW of Scotland’s electricity comes from marine sources. The call came on the deadline day for responses to the Scottish Executive’s consultation on changing the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) to create a ‘Marine Obligation’. To aid the Scottish Executive in bringing wave and tidal projects forwards, members of Scottish Renewables, Scotland’s leading green energy body, have been debating initial funding proposals from the Scottish Executive. In an effort to establish a workable finance system for first generation wave and tidal energy projects. According to Maf Smith, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, “there is a big prize to be won if Scotland can press ahead and develop wave and tidal energy. However, delivery of other renewables needs to continue if Scotland is to meet its overall renewable targets. “The Scottish Executive does need to act now if we want to see wave and tidal energy projects in Scotland, but mustn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by holding back other more mature technologies.” Scottish Renewables’ research on development of renewables in Scotland highlighted that by the end of 2007, 19% of Scotland’s electricity will be coming from renewables, meeting the Scottish Executive’s target three years early. By 2010, 33% of electricity could come from renewables, including a contribution from wave and tidal energy, and by 2020 more than 50% could come from renewables. “We see that with some simple changes to how support is channeled we can have a profound effect on bringing forwards wave and tidal energy projects in the next three years,” said Smith. “The UK Government is now looking at making similar changes, but we cannot wait for a UK wide scheme, but instead should look for opportunities for testing marine support ahead of changing UK support in 2010. “It is also clear that other countries such as Portugal and Spain are intent on building a marine industry in their own backyard, so Scotland and the UK need to recognize that there is a global race on to be the home of an international marine sector.”
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