Internet search engine company Google’s interest in using marine energy to power its future operation was yesterday welcomed by those involved in seeking to promote the huge generating potential of the Pentland Firth.
The internet giant is interested in tidal energy powering data processing centres mounted on a flotilla of boats moored three to seven miles offshore.
It is seeking a patent for the process which has been linked with the Pentland Firth.
The stretch of water is being touted as one of Europe’s leading marine energy hotspots.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise Pentland Firth tidal energy project manager Louise Smith said that it is very encouraging that Google is gearing up to harness the power of the sea.
She said: “Internet servers require massive amounts of energy to power their data-processing centres.
A survey found the centres were responsible for 1.2% of the energy used in the US in 2005.
Ms Smith said the new green power provided by the firth is ideal for servicing the energy needs of companies like Google.
She said: “There’s an increasing recognition that the Pentland Firth is the place for marine power developments and tie-ins with computer data centres makes a great deal of sense.”
Atlantis Resources Corporation recently revealed its intention to build an array of tidal-powered turbines in the firth that would power a computer data centre near the Castle of Mey with partners, the United States investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The development will create 100 jobs in the next two to three years, rising to as many as 700 jobs if it takes off, as expected.
Google’s interest was yesterday also welcomed by WWF Scotland.
The environmental organisation’s Scotland director Richard Dixon said: “With data centres doubling their energy every five to eight years, these companies desperately need to find ways to reduce their environmental impacts.
“The fact the Scotland has huge riches in renewable energy opens up new business opportunities for any big energy user conscious of their impact on the planet.”