The Scottish Government has given the go-ahead for the first phase of what will be the largest tidal energy project in Europe, the energy minister has said. SNP Fergus Ewing announced plans to build six turbines in the Pentland Firth.
Scotland will need to do more if it is to harness the full potential of the marine power it generates, a leading environmental charity has said.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland praised Holyrood's decision to build six turbines in the Pentland Firth but wants to see more done to make sure power can travel to the mainland.
This is a significant announcement and a major boost for the marine renewable industry in Scotland....
Scotland is well placed to lead in developing the technologies to turn this potential into a reality while create thousands of green jobs at the same time.
However, as there is little point in generating huge amounts of marine renewable energy on Scotland's islands if it cannot also be got to the mainland, we now need UK and Scottish Ministers to find a way forward that enables us to harness the full potential of this clean energy source.
A huge green energy project will be built in the sea between mainland Scotland and the Orkney islands, after the project was granted permission for its first stage by the Scottish Government.
Up to six turbines will be built in the Pentland Firth after Holyrood gave the go-ahead to the largest tidal energy project in Europe, energy minister Fergus Ewing announced.
Speaking before the Scottish Renewables Marine Conference, Mr Ewing said: "Today we have granted consent to MeyGen Limited to develop the largest tidal turbine array in Europe and the first commercial project off these shores.
"This is a major step forward for Scotland's marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes - around 40% of homes in the Highlands.
"This exciting development in the waters around Orkney is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up to 398 megawatts."