Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 16:10 UK

Renewables 'can help' Scotland recover from recession

Tidal energy device
HIE said the region offers a rich resource of wave and tidal energy

Greater use of renewable energy will help Scotland recover from the recession, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has said.

Achieving a low carbon economy - which includes increasing use of wind, wave and tidal power - is a key target in the agency's new operating plan.

But HIE has also warned of the region's dependency on the public sector.

It said expected cuts in spending in this area was "likely to impact disproportionately" on the region.

HIE said the Highlands and Islands relied on the public sector as an employer and provider of infrastructure.

The operating plan sets out the agency's priorities and spending targets for the next three years.

It has been approved by the Scottish government.

'World's richest'

Developing a low carbon economy in the Highlands and Islands is among the plan's key aims.

HIE said the region had taken a lead role in the development of biomass, hydro, wind, wave and tidal technologies.

It highlighted the work of European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Orkney, the Crown Estate's Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Leasing project, wind turbine construction in Argyll and efforts to upgrade the Arnish yard on Lewis for renewable energy device construction.

Chairman William Roe said expanding the renewable sector will help Scotland recover from the effects of the recession.

He said: "This region, home to some of the world's richest resources of wind, wave and tidal power in particular, currently has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fuel the growth of a renewable energy sector at regional and national levels."

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