Edinburgh, September 29 : Scotland has announced that it would build the world's first tidal farms under the sea within three years, which would be a major step in marine renewable energy.
According to a report in The Scotsman, two tidal projects, each with up to 20 turbines, could be installed on the seabed in the Pentland Firth and the Sound of Islay. A third is planned off the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland.
The aim is that all the underwater turbines would be constructed in Scotland, kickstarting the renewables industry in the country.
Scottish Power Renewables will apply for planning permission for the three tidal projects next summer. If permission is granted, they would be the first commercial underwater tidal turbine farms built anywhere in the world.
The structures stand 30 metres tall and can work as deep as 100 metres. The 20-metre blades would turn at least 10 metres below the surface to avoid shipping, developers said, and the zones would be off-limits to trawlers for safety reasons.
Scottish Power said that tests in Norway proved the blades moved slowly enough for marine life to avoid them.
The tidal farm sites would have a combined output of 60 megawatts, enough to power 40,000 homes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If planning approval is granted, Scottish Power Renewables says that the projects could be operational by 2011.
The company is also hoping to build a factory in the north-east of Scotland where all the turbines will be constructed, and the projects would be expected to bring hundreds of jobs.
According to Keith Anderson, the director of Scottish Power Renewables, "The rapid technological advance of tidal power has been startling and is now allowing us to progress plans for substantial projects delivering major environmental and economic benefits."
"Tidal power is completely renewable, being driven by the gravity of the sun and moon, with no carbon dioxide emissions, plus the added benefit of being entirely predictable," he added.
Before it can be deployed, a 6 million pound prototype will have to be tested for about a year in Scottish waters, probably off Orkney.
THE tidal farms will use a machine known as the Lanstrom device, which was invented in Norway and has already gone through four years of successful testing.