THE Pentland Firth is on course to become the first marine energy park in Scotland, it has emerged.
Energy minister Greg Barker has asked Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP John Thurso to conduct a meeting of the Marine Energy Programme Board in the county this summer, with the aim of establishing the second park of its kind in the UK.
Mr Barker said John Thurso has played a key role in developing marine renewable potential in Scotland and said he will be hoping to announce some good news when the meeting takes place.
It comes after the announcement that the first UK marine energy park has been established off the coast of south-west England.
Speaking after a session in the House of Commons, John Thurso said the future vision of the Pentland Firth has taken one step closer.
"I have been working on this for a year as the most obvious place in the whole of Europe for a marine energy park is in the Pentland Firth," he said.
"It was detected by the tone of the minister’s answer that our bid has proven to be favourable and in all likelihood the answer will be yes.
"It is a really important announcement which will be a huge boost for industry on both sides of the firth and in terms of potential regeneration of Caithness and North Sutherland."
The news comes after Scrabster harbour was announced as one of four new enterprise zones in the Highlands by the Scottish Government earlier this month.