Page last updated at 00:24 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 01:24 UK

Devices in North Sea 'could power' other countries

Offshore wind turbines
Wind turbines could supply Scotland with clean energy

Renewable power devices in the North Sea could help supply electricity to Scotland, continental Europe and North Africa, a new study suggests.

PricewaterhouseCoopers in Aberdeen and climate research organisations looked at how to generate huge amounts of "green" energy by 2050.

They suggest installing wind, tidal and wave devices in the North Sea.

On Tuesday, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said renewable power was key to recovery from the recession.

The newly-released study was put together by energy and climate experts at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the European Climate Forum.

They looked at how Scotland, the rest of Europe and North Africa could be supplied exclusively by renewable energy in the next 40 years.

Electricity could be supplied by onshore and offshore wind farms in the North and Baltic seas, tidal and wave power devices in the North Sea and by harnessing solar power in southern Europe and the deserts of North Africa.

We have the skills, capability and expertise here in the north-east and Scotland as a whole to make it happen
Mark Higginson
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Electricity could also be generated by the expansion of hydro schemes in Scandinavia and the European alps as well as biomass generation across Europe.

Mark Higginson, a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Aberdeen, said policy makers needed to provide incentives to encourage innovation.

He said: "The funding of large scale renewables projects remains a challenge due to the current state of the credit markets and lack of clarity over carbon pricing in the absence of clear government policy.

"We have the skills, capability and expertise here in the north-east and Scotland as a whole to make it happen.

"Indeed, a number of major oilfield service companies are already beginning to gear up to service the renewables sector. We just need more government and industry support to further unlock this potential."

Greater use of renewable energy will help Scotland recover from the recession, HIE said earlier this week.

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.

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.

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