Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently formally unveiled a large-scale tidal energy turbine that is to be deployed in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The turbine will be the first of four to be completed at the Nigg Energy Park in the Highlands for the Atlantis Resources MeyGen Project. The MeyGen Project is considered to be the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm. The Scottish government has poured around £23 million in funding to develop the clean energy tidal farm. Some sources are saying that this is one of Scotland’s long term investments in its bid to become independent from England and to eventually join with the European Union. Atlantis Resources eventually hopes to expand the project to more than 200 turbines. Completed turbines will then be transported north by sea from the Nigg Energy Park on the Cromarty Firth to the tidal stream farm site in the Pentland Firth, on the north Caithness coast and Orkney. It is hoped that the farm can start generating electricity by early 2017.
In fact, last month, another Scottish energy project on a smaller scale became the first in the world to deliver electricity to the national grid from a tidal array system. Nova Innovation and its Shetland Isles Project represented major progress in using tidal energy as a long term source of clean and renewable energy. The Scottish government is looking forward to further growth in this industry in order to create jobs for people moving from the oil and gas sector from the North Sea due to the UK’s exit from the European Union and from layoffs from oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia. The Scottish First Minister said “MeyGen was set to invigorate the marine renewables industry in Scotland and provide vital jobs for its very skilled workforce, retaining valuable offshore expertise that would otherwise be lost overseas.” According to Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Atlantis Resources, “this marked a historic milestone for the entire global tidal power industry.”
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Cornelius further added that, “This is the day the tidal power industry announced itself as the most exciting new asset class of renewable and sustainable generation outside of the UK’s energy mix. Finally, Scotland may no longer be dependent on the UK for its energy needs, another move in Scotland’s bid for separation ‘from the POM’s’.” This specific industry that is also targeted at creating jobs in Scotland will make the presently autonomous UK state the undisputed world leader of this high growth sector. Even if tidal energy farming is viewed by many as an “incredibly young technology,” of all renewable energy, this one is seen as having the biggest promise for long term affordability and success compared even to solar energy or wind turbines. Adding color to the project’s future development is the absolute continued support from the Brussels, Belgium government, a member of the EU, and playing vitally important part in the growth of the sector, in part also for the EU’s renewable energy aspirations as well.