Renewable energy

Marine renewable resources

Pentland Firth

Our Renewable Energy Strategy recognises the potential of the area’s marine renewable resources but acknowledges that we need to develop the necessary technology to fully exploit its potential. 

The amount of installed capacity estimated to be generated by 2020 from the world’s first commercial scale leasing round for wave and tidal energy in the Pentland Firth is now expected to be closer to 1000 MW.

Along with our partners, we are working to ensure that Caithness and Sutherland maximises the economic opportunities that the development of a marine renewables industry can bring. The area can offer: 

  • A skilled workforce experienced in the oil and gas and nuclear energy industries
  • A top quality higher and further education sector working to ensure that we can provide the necessary technical and professional skills required by the marine renewables industry
  • A well developed engineering and energy supply chain capable of supporting marine renewables developments
  • A port and maritime infrastructure with all the necessary skills, expertise and local knowledge to support marine renewables developments
  • A joined up public sector looking to work closely with potential inward investors to Caithness and North Sutherland and to lobby Government to ensure the necessary grid infrastructure is in place to allow the growth of the marine renewables industry

Scotland’s National Planning Framework Two identifies the Pentland Firth as an area for co-ordinated action to harness its potential for marine renewable energy and work being taken forward as the Pentland Firth Tidal Energy Project.

The Scottish Government has published The Marine Spatial Plan Framework and Regional Locational Guidance


North Highland Onshore Vision - Growth Strategy for the Marine Renewables Sector

The marine renewables sector covering wave, tidal and offshore wind energy is expected to expand significantly in the Caithness and North Sutherland area over the next 20 years. We want to maximise the potential economic benefits and employment opportunities that this could bring to the area. This is reflected as a key priority for the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, of which we are a key partner.
As part of the North Highland Onshore Vision, we agreed an Action Plan

A call for sites exercise was undertaken between September and October 2012 and you can read the Site suggestions for Employment use to assist Marine Renewables. The site suggestions will be assessed by us as part of the preparation of the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan).

In April 2012 the Scottish Government established an enterprise area at Scrabster on the low carbon and renewables theme. A planning protocol has been prepared with the Scottish Government, underlining our commitment to a streamlined approach to planning in this area.