Scottish renewables

Three new research projects that aim to support Scotland’s goal of meeting its renewables targets are expected to get under way this year.

The research follows a government pledge to advance the development of Scotland’s marine renewable-energy sector while protecting the country’s marine ecosystem.

As part of the work, Marine Scotland will be undertaking a range of projects to assess the impact of marine renewables on Scotland’s biodiversity.

These include a review of the potential impacts of renewable energy on the marine environment and a study into acoustic devices to warn marine mammals of tidal-stream energy renewable devices.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: ‘Scotland has a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in the development of marine renewable-energy technologies.

‘As a nation we are home to some of the best wave and tidal resources in the world, which could harness more than a gigawatt of electricity-generating capacity.’

According to Lochhead, this will boost economic growth and help the Scottish government meet its target of generating 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

He added: ‘These projects aim to ensure that the marine renewable-energy sector is developed sustainably while at the same time protecting the many species and habitats that Scotland’s seas are famous for.’

Commenting on the proposed studies, WWF Scotland‘s head of policy, Dr Dan Barlow, said: ‘Renewable energy has a critical role to play in reducing climate-change emissions.

‘Given the huge renewable resources available around our coast and strong skills in offshore engineering, marine energy offers a fantastic opportunity for Scotland.

‘However, if Scotland is to fully tap into offshore wind, wave and tidal power we must also safeguard the nation’s important marine environment.

‘We therefore welcome the research programmes announced today.’