Scotland works to harness the power of the sea

A tidal power scheme in the Inner Sound of Scotland's Pentland Firth has begun to generate electricity. The Pentland Firth (Scottish Gaelic: An Caol Arcach) is a strait which separates the Orkney Islands from Caithness in the north of Scotland. The Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth, is the water that runs between the north Scottish mainland and Stroma Island. The Atlantis MeyGen project's single turbine, the first of four 1.5MW tidal stream turbines that are to be installed in the Inner Sound, has been exporting electricity. The aim is to expand the project to have a large number of turbines generating about 400MW of electricity.

The development comes after the Nova Innovation's two-turbine Bluemull Sound project in Shetland became the first offshore tidal array in the world to deliver electricity to the National Grid. The objective is to expand the supply of clean and renewable electricity. The undertaking has been supported by the Scottish government which has provided £23m of funding to help develop the tidal stream farm. Environmental groups have added their support to Scottish progress in harnessing the power of the sea to generate electicity. World Wildlife Fund Scotland director Lang Banks said: 

"News of the first electricity to come from what will hopefully become one of the world's largest tidal power schemes is a really exciting moment. Well done to all those involved.  

"Coming only a few months after turbines off Shetland generated their first power, it's a sign that Scotland is really starting to make progress in harnessing the power of our seas. 

"Along with action to improve energy efficiency, marine renewables have the potential to play a role in powering our homes and businesses in the future. If we are to secure such a future it's important that the Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy sets an ambition to secure at least half of all our energy needs from renewables by 2030. Doing so would ensure Scotland maximises the benefits from a transition to a zero-carbon economy."

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