Almost £8 million of funding has been given to five marine energy companies to develop new wave and tidal turbine prototypes around Scotland.
The cash is from the second round of the Scottish Government's waters fund 'Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development & Demonstration Support' scheme.
It is aimed at helping Scottish developers seize a greater share of the international marine energy market, which the government claimed could be worth up to £4 billion to the country's economy by 2020.
Scotrenewables Tidal Power is among the five firms to share the funding of £7.9 million.
The company has been given a £1.2 million grant towards a £9.24 million project to design, construct and install a floating tidal turbine.
Speaking during a visit to the firm's tidal turbine prototype in Kirkwall, Orkney, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Ambitious clean-tech developers such as Scotrenewables Tidal Power, and the prototypes they are developing, are testament to how far the marine renewables sector has progressed in just a few years.”
The other companies to be given funding are Albatern, £617,000, AWS Ocean Energy, £3.9 million, Nautricity, £1.4 million, and Oceanflow Development, £750,000.
Sturgeon added: “The Scottish government is very pleased to be supporting these five exciting wave and tidal projects through this funding. [It] sends a further clear signal that Scotland – already blessed with some of the world's greatest concentrations of marine energy resource and with unrivalled offshore energy engineering expertise – will continue to provide the optimum research and investment environment for developers and commercial partners.”
She added: “By supporting a range of wave and tidal technologies at various stages of development towards commercialisation and the goal of large-scale sea-powered electricity generation, we can stimulate innovation, investment, job creation and help protect the planet for future generations."
Scotrenewables business development manager John McGlynn said: “This grant award has played a vital role in allowing us to leverage a very significant amount of foreign private investment into the Highlands and islands. This funding will allow us to progress to the next stage in the development of our floating tidal technology and is a major step on the road to making the company a real marine renewable energy success story.”
The funding was welcomed by environmental organisation WWF Scotland. Head of policy Dr Dan Barlow said: “There is a massive amount of power in our seas and Scotland is well-placed to lead in developing the technologies to turn this potential into clean, green electricity.”
He went on: “With careful planning, we can harness wave and tidal energy to help cut our climate emissions while safeguarding the nation's tremendous marine environment.”
The waters fund is a collaboration between the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with money from the European Regional Development Fund. It gave £6 million to four marine energy projects during the first phase of funding in 2010.