Renewable wave and tidal energy could provide up to 10 per cent of Scotland's electricity production and create around 7,000 new jobs under measures announced today.

Deputy First Minister and Enterprise Minister Ninol Stephen said he was making major changes to renewable energy regulations to kick start multi-million pound investments in marine energy. The Minister told Offshore Europe delegates at the new Science and Energy Park in Aberdeen that he would take action to award additional Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to wave and tidal output, with the aim of putting Scotland at the global forefront of marine energy.

Nicol Stephen said: "The changes I am announcing today will unlock Scotland's marine powerhouse. Tens of millions of pounds of support will be available - with the potential for hundreds of millions to be invested in new wave and tidal projects around Scotland's shores.

"Our aim is to generate up to 10 per-cent of Scotland's electricity from the sea around us. That is equivalent to completely replacing one of Scotland's huge fossil fuelled power stations. "Industry experts predict that wave and tidal energy could create up to 7,000 new jobs in Scotland. Already we have the technology to become the global capital for the development and generation of energy from world's oceans. Marine power could become one of our biggest industries of the future.

"We have already done much to support the sector, particularly at the world class testing centre on Orkney. Yet to date in contrast to wind power, we have seen no significant commercial projects for wave or tidal power in Scotland. That has to change. "To deliver, we need to do more. The costs of installing and producing energy from marine devices remains high. Development on a large scale will drive down costs and make it possible for these devices to power the engine of a sustainable Scotland. "This funding gap is real and needs to be bridged. That is what today's major announcement will achieve.

"Amending the Renewables Obligation Scotland will mean that wind schemes continue to get support - but wave and tidal projects will get an even greater boost. "A group of industry experts have advised us that the potential exists to install over one gigawatt of wave and tidal capacity in Scottish waters. In simple terms this is around one-tenth of our total electricity production. These developments will not only boost our renewable energy output, but we can expect to see many new jobs created in the design, manufacture, installation and export of these technologies.

"The opportunity for Scottish business is truly worldwide. Already we have seen Scottish technology being used for a marine power project in Portugal. If we can establish a lead in marine energy, the global potential for our companies is massive. "We will design the changes being announced today carefully and limit them to marine technology, to maintain investor confidence in all renewable technologies. But let us be clear - wave and tidal energy is one of Scotland's biggest opportunities. We must take action today to produce the clean energy of tomorrow."

The Executive's target is that 18 per cent of electricity generated in Scotland should come from renewable sources by 2010, rising to 40 per cent by 2020. The Renewables (Scotland) Obligation requires power suppliers to derive from renewable sources a specified proportion of the electricity they supply to their customers. Eligible renewable generators receive Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for each MWh of electricity generated. These certificates can then be sold to suppliers, in order to fulfil their obligation. Suppliers can either present enough certificates to cover the required percentage of their output, or they can pay a 'buyout' price.

The Executive will now consider the amendments necessary to the Obligation which will allow additional ROCs to be provided for units of output from wave and tidal devices. The Forum for Renewable Energy Development Scotland (FRESD) published a report 'Harnessing Scotland's Marine Energy Potential' in 2004 which assessed the potential for developing wave and tidal energy in Scotland, and produced an action plan for developing that potential.


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