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Milestone Moment for Marine Energy Industry

16th March 2010

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is primed and ready to support engagement between developers and local suppliers after The Crown Estate reveals at midday today (Tuesday, March 16) which companies have been granted leases to generate marine energy in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

The successful bids have been selected by The Crown Estate from 42 applications put forward by 20 developers keen to install commercial scale energy generators in some of the most promising seabed sites in Europe.

Calum Davidson, head of key sectors at HIE said: "This is a milestone in the journey of marine energy generation in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, moving it from aspiration towards reality.

"Today's announcement, which will be made simultaneously at venues in Wick, Orkney and Edinburgh, and the First Minister's response, will be of interest to energy providers across the world as the global search for a successor to hydrocarbon fuel accelerates.

"HIE has played an integral role in the many stakeholder relationships that have brought us to this point. After today's announcement, we will be working harder than ever to support the successful developers, as well as local suppliers, inward investors and local communities to develop the full potential that this emerging industry promises for
Scotland."

Aimed at enabling stakeholders to plan their work programmes, HIE will this week publish a draft 'road map' - the first step in pulling together all the local partners' and stakeholders' plans and actions, such as grid connections, infrastructure and supply chain, needed for the growth of a world-leading marine energy industry in the Pentland
Firth and Orkney Waters.

Mr Davidson explained: "This emerging industry is highly challenging butthe rewards are potentially huge. It will require detailed co-operation between public agencies and between the private and public sectors to achieve the ambition we have set ourselves. This partnership approach will be absolutely vital to ensure that every part of the jigsaw is
placed when and where needed, providing an industry path that will attract investors from around the world."

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