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October 14, 2003 12:00 AM

The Executive's plans to promote marine energy in Scotland were outlined today at the Renewable Realities Conference in Orkney.

Enterprise Minister Jim Wallace announced proposals to establish a Marine Energy sub-group which will be part of the newly-established Forum for Renewable Energy Development and will consider how best to exploit potential for wave and tidal energy.

The Executive has already invested over £2 million in the European Marine Energy Centre, which will be the first of its kind in the world, and is due to open by the end of 2003.

Mr Wallace said:

"By establishing the Marine Energy sub-group, we can work to ensure that Scotland is a world leader in this area. Scotland certainly has the potential to be at the heart of marine energy developments.

"The Marine Energy Centre is due to open later this year. The Executive has committed more than £2 million to this scheme, which will help Scotland's entrepreneurs and experts lead the way in this innovative field.

"The setting for today's conference, in Orkney, is especially welcome. The islands, like much of Scotland, are blessed with massive renewable energy potential, and boast a long history of positive engagement with these projects."

Mr Wallace went on to highlight the progress made in renewable energy development since last year's conference.

He particularly noted the establishment of the Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative and job creation linked to the renewables industry, saying:

"We are investing more than £5 million to support community and household renewable energy developments, allowing them to benefit directly from the installation of renewables technologies.

"There have also been a number of jobs linked to the renewables industry created in the past year, including in Campbeltown and Lewis.

"These developments highlight the important role that renewable energy can play in helping create and maintain sustainable communities across Scotland."

Scotland's Renewable Resource commissioned by the Scottish Executive in 2001, estimates that Scotland has a potential 14GW of wave energy and 7.5GW of tidal power, equivalent to more than twice Scotland's current total installed generation capacity.

Deputy Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald last week announced the establishment of the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland, which he will chair.

The first meeting of the Forum will take place on October 20. The proposal to establish a sub-group will be put to the Forum.