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19th February 2009

The Crown Estate has announced that the first stage of the process to allocate sites for wave and tidal renewable energy in the Pentland Firth strategic area is complete. Developers' response to this first invitation has been very positive and 38 individual companies and consortia have been invited to tender following confirmation of their interest by registering for the pre-qualification process.

Rob Hastings, Director of the Marine Estate at The Crown Estate, said: "We are very pleased by the excellent response to this first UK commercial marine energy development opportunity. Scotland has some of the best natural wave and tidal resources in Europe and the Pentland Firth strategic area has been selected with this in mind."

The Scottish Government, which will decide upon planning applications in due course, also welcomed the positive response. First Minister Alex Salmond commented: "The fact that so many companies have already registered their interest in developing wave and tidal energy projects in the Pentland Firth and surrounding waters is extremely encouraging.

"The Scottish Government has recently launched the world's greatest ever single prize for innovation in marine energy, the 10 million Saltire Prize, and the opening of the Pentland Firth for development is a timely and crucial move."

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said: "This is a very welcome development. The UK Government is working hard alongside the Scottish Government to ensure that the huge potential in Scottish waters for renewable energy can be realised, and to ensure electricity generated from marine energy technologies plays an important role in the UK's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change."

Sandy Cumming, chief executive of Highland and Islands Enterprise, said: "We want the Highlands and Islands to lead the way in marine energy development and to get this level of developer interest in the Pentland Firth at this stage is an important step towards that objective."

Roger Bright, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate, commented: "The Crown Estate is committed to working to ensure that the growing renewable energy sector is given every opportunity to succeed. It will be several months before we have a clear idea of the number of companies likely to progress to site survey and application but this is an excellent start."

The next stage in the process involves a formal application process open to those who have pre-qualified. Applications will have to be completed and submitted during May 2009.

Crown Estate Web Site

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