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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
Firth could be key to tidal power
Breakers. Picture by Iain Maclean
SDC said 5% of electricity could be generated from tidal stream
The Pentland Firth has been identified as a key site for creating electricity from tidal power, according to a government advisory body.

A new report by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) said 5% of the UK's electricity could be generated using fast-flowing tidal currents.

Almost 60% of that power could be sourced around the firth.

However, SDC said the energy would only be harnessed if a testing centre in Orkney realised its full potential.

The European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) is thought to be the first of its kind in the world to provide a purpose-built tidal energy facility.

It was opened by First Minister Alex Salmond last week.

Low tides

The SDC report, Tidal Power in the UK, assessed the UK's potential for both types of tidal power - tidal stream and tidal range.

Tidal stream technology uses the energy contained in fast-flowing tidal currents generally found in constrained channels.

Tidal range, meanwhile, harnesses the water movement in estuaries with large differences between high and low tides.

Other potential locations for tidal stream highlighted in the report included Shetland, Kyle Rhea in the north-west Highlands, Islay and the Mull of Kintyre.

Advisers endorse tidal power plan
01 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
Orkney tidal power plans unveiled
28 Sep 07 |  North East/N Isles

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