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Scotland aims for global lead in tidal energy

Government said its feels the eyes of the world watching its renewable energy steps.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Scotland aims for global lead in tidal energy
The Scottish government is funding tidal power scheme it says will be the largest in the world. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The Scottish government said it was putting funding forward to help develop what it says may be the first large-scale tidal power operation in the world.

Scotland is putting forward about $30 million in funding to support the development of a tidal power project it estimates may generate about $360 million for the national economy. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the project Monday and the turbines planned for the 398-megawatt project.

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"There is no doubt that the eyes of the world are on this project which is why the Scottish Government's investment is so crucially important," she said in a statement.

German energy company RWE tapped into the renewable energy scheme in Scotland by developing prototype tidal current turbines installed offshore at the beginning of the decade. A long-term strategy at the time called for as much as 100 megawatts of tidal power off the Scottish coast.

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The company behind the larger Scottish tidal scheme, Atlantis Resources, aims to install 86 turbines as part of a broader project that could reach full capacity by the early 2020s and potentially alter the landscape of the regional energy sector.

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The British government last year announced plans to end public subsidies for some parts of the renewable energy sector, defending the move as a way to keep consumer bills low. The Scottish leader said that, as well as uncertainty related to the British referendum to leave the European Union, left renewable energy momentum unclear.

"They must tackle the current uncertainty that exists before they cause irreparable damage to the long term prospects for the sector," she said.

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