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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Positive waves over power project
The Pelamis
The minister was speaking after visiting the Pelamis wave project
Scotland's enterprise minister has said he hopes to see wave energy projects operating in the country by next year.

Nicol Stephen was speaking after visiting the Pelmais wave power project in Portugal, which was set up by Edinburgh-based Ocean Power Delivery.

He said ministers planned to invest in a similar project at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoE) welcomed the announcement and the SNP said it was long overdue.

Following his visit to Portugal on Wednesday, Mr Stephen said he was determined to see similar devices operating in Scottish waters by next summer.

The opportunity exists to create a multi-million pound industry based in Scotland
Nicol Stephen
Enterprise Minister

He said: "The Pelamis devices now being prepared for installation in Portugal are massive machines - over 120 metres long and weighing over 300 tonnes.

"They are the first commercial wave machines in the world - built using entirely Scottish technology.

"We have got to give strong support to this success. The opportunity now exists to create a multi-million pound industry based in Scotland, employing thousands of highly skilled people."

The minister said Scotland had an opportunity to be a world leader in the field and that he was finalising changes to the country's green credits system - the Renewables Obligation.

'Hugely disappointing'

FoE Scotland chief executive Duncan McLaren said wave and tidal power could supply a fifth of UK energy needs and that Scotland was ideally placed to generate a significant amount of that energy.

"We can tackle climate change without having to resort to polluting nuclear power if we ensure all forms of renewable energy, including wave and tidal sources, are used," he said.

"Ministers must do all they can to ensure this country fully taps into the free, clean marine energy sources we have just off our coastline."

SNP environment and energy spokesman Richard Lochhead welcomed the announcement, but said it was "a sad state of affairs" that it had taken the Scottish Executive seven years to realise wave potential.

"We can't forget that it was Nicol Stephen who allowed Portugal to take the wave power initiative in the first place," he said.

"It is hugely disappointing that this had to happen for Lib-Lab ministers to take action as wave devices could have been supplying energy to Scots homes by now if the ministers had not been so complacent and uninterested."

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