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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Wave power test site chosen
The strong tidal currents are ideal for wave energy
Orkney has been chosen ahead of the Western Isles as a pioneering test site for wave power in Scotland.

The Scottish Executive along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise are providing 400,000 for a full scale site survey in Stromness.

Orkney has been selected from a shortlist of five sites - two in the Western Isles, one on Islay and one in Caithness - as the best location in Scotland to test wave power technology.

Consultants advising Highlands and Islands Enterprise said Stromness is the best site for the Scottish Marine Energy Test Centre because of its strong tidal currents and availability to existing power lines.

Rhona Brankin
Rhona Brankin: "Scotland could become a world leader in renewable energy."
The power contained in the sea currents is most likely to be harnessed to create electricity through seabed generators.

Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin said Scotland could become a world leader in renewable energy.

She believes the site in Orkney will allow international companies to test the new technology in a very harsh environment.

A full-scale site survey will be carried out including an environmental impact assessment.

It is hoped the new centre, which has the potential to become Europe's top wave energy test site, will be up and and running by next year.

Renewable energy sources

Ms Brankin said: "Scotland is rich in renewable energy sources and this site in Stromness has been recognised as among the best in Europe.

"We must take advantage of this situation and strive to ensure that Scotland becomes a world leader in energy production from marine sources.

"Marine energy could contribute significantly to Scotland's energy needs over the coming decades.

"To ensure we tap into this potential all the technology must be fully proven in what is a very harsh environment.

"Scotland has several world leading companies working to develop marine energy systems and they need a test centre where they can evaluate this technology."

Scotland is rich in renewable energy sources and this site in Stromness has been recognised as among the best in Europe.

Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin
An HIE-commissioned study chose Stromness ahead of a number of others sites as it was considered to offer more easily accessible wave and tidal resources, better onshore facilities and connections to power lines, as well as providing sheltered water for easier construction.

Ms Brankin said: "The selection of Orkney as the site for the test centre does not exclude other areas of rural Scotland from benefiting from marine energy as it develops.

"The consultants' report for HIE indicated clearly that the Western Isles possesses a great deal of the overall marine energy resource available to Scotland.

"I expect the area to benefit as this technology is put into production in coming years.

"The Western Isles make a very good location for onshore wind energy development and I know that two wind energy projects under our Scottish Renewables Obligation are being taken forward there."

John Johnston reports
"The islands are already at the forefront of renewable energy"
See also:

03 Jun 01 | Scotland
Wave power hope for Scotland
16 Nov 00 | Scotland
Making waves to generate cash
30 Aug 00 | Scotland
Wind farm opposition 'blows over'
14 Jul 00 | Scotland
Row blowing up over windfarm
28 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
UK lags on riding 'green wave'
01 Nov 99 | Scotland
Producing energy out of thin air
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