Scottish wave and tidal projects approved by Crown Estate
The Crown Estate has given approval to four new demonstration wave and tidal projects in Scotland.
It said that, for the first time, local organisations would play a role in developing the zones which have been approved.
The Scottish zones and sites are in the Stronsay Firth in Orkney, the Mull of Galloway, Islay and Harris.
The Crown Estate said it is attempting to "further technology development and commercialisation".
Scottish minister for energy Fergus Ewing said: "We welcome this announcement by the Crown Estate to lease two new wave and tidal demonstration zones and two new project sites in Scottish waters.
End Quote Lindsay Leask Scottish Renewables
It is great to see local communities taking their energy future into their own hands and playing a role in the development of wave and tidal projects”
"These offer opportunities for ambitious developers to prove their marine energy technologies and harness the potential of the oceans around Scotland's coastline."
Crown Estate Director of Energy Rob Hastings added: "By providing these additional seabed rights we are pleased to be enabling further technology development and commercialisation, which will be critical if the UK is to unlock its significant natural resources for wave and tidal current energy.
"This innovative approach to leasing the seabed sees us responding to market demand and introducing managed demonstration zones to give other organisations the opportunity to lend tangible support in their local areas."
Although the Crown Estate grants rights to organisations to operate on the seabed, projects still have to be given planning approval.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "There's a massive amount of power in our seas and Scotland is well-placed to lead the world in developing the technologies to turn this potential into clean, green electricity.
"The announcement of new sites and plans to involve local organisations will help keep us on track to be able to plug into wave and tidal power."
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), in collaboration with local partners, has been awarded rights in Harris, Islay and Orkney.
EMEC's managing director Neil Kermode said: "With more than 10 years of experience in wave and tidal testing at our existing sites in Orkney, we have seen 15 different companies learn from real sea experience, and feed that learning back into their next generation technologies.
"That in turn has created valuable momentum for the industry, but has also created a cluster of expertise and economic benefit in Orkney."
Industry body Scottish Renewables has welcomed the announcement.
Spokesman Lindsay Leask said: "This announcement reinforces, yet again, the massive wave and tidal energy potential Scotland has.
"With the right level of support, Scotland can solidify its position as a world-leader in marine energy development and take advantage of the vast economic benefits that could accompany this.
"It is great to see local communities taking their energy future into their own hands and playing a role in the development of wave and tidal projects."