With some of the strongest tidal currents and most powerful waves in the world just off the coast, it is no wonder that Scotland is looking to develop wave and tidal power. As such, two tidal energy and twowave power developers are currently competing for Scotland’s £10 million Saltire Prize, which aims to draw international attention to the benefits of clean energy.

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The competitors are projects that we have featured on Inhabitat in the past. There is the Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave power technology which captures energy in nearshore waves and converts it into clean sustainable electricity;The MeyGen project, which is the largest tidal energy development in Europe and aims to build six tidal turbines in the Pentland Firth off the northern coast of Caithness; The Pelamis, an offshore wave energy converter that uses the motion of waves to generate electricity; and ScottishPower Renewables, which is investigating the potential for a tidal energy project located at the Ness of Duncansby.

Speaking at the Grand Challenge launch event in Orkney, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed representatives from each team and stated: “Scotland’s clean energy challenge to the world has helped draw international attention to the planet-saving potential of wave and tidal power.

“With the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney hosting an array of devices, we should not lose sight of how far this vibrant young industry has come in recent years. Lease agreements, including up to 1.6 GW of installed marine energy generating capacity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, are now in place, major power and engineering conglomerates are investing in various wave and tidal energy technologies and no fewer than 11 devices have been deployed or are in the process of deployment at EMEC, with 14 due there by 2014.

“The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors – reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy. The four competitors have stepped up to the challenge, and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world’s seas and oceans.”

+ Saltire Prize

Images: Scottish Government