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Scotland green-lights tidal energy array

Sept. 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM   |   Comments

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- One of the largest marine energy projects planned for Scottish waters will enhance efforts to move the economy away from fossil fuels, the energy minister said.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced Monday his government gave its consent for Scottish-registered MeyGen Ltd. to develop the largest tidal turbine array in Europe off Scottish shores.

"We must tackle climate change. We need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through better and more efficient uses of energy," he was quoted by the BBC as saying. "Marine energy, a home-grown technology with huge potential, is part of the solution."

Scotland has one of the most ambitious renewable energy programs in the world. It set a goal of generating all of its domestic electricity needs from renewable resources by 2020.

MeyGen will start work on a demonstration project of as many as six turbines. A final array of giant 73-foot tidal turbines could churn out enough energy to meet the annual demands of 42,000 homes by the time the turbines are fully operational in 2020.

Tidal turbines turn wave energy into electric power. MeyGen's system would be the first of its kind for Scottish waters.

The BBC reported that operating a tidal turbine facility in the region is challenging because of the harsh weather conditions.

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