Scottish waters are the Saudi Arabia of marine power, according to First Minister Alex Salmond

Ten areas of seabed around the north of Scotland are to be developed for wave and tidal energy generation projects.

The Crown Estate, which owns the seabed out to the 12nm territorial limit, has awarded exclusive development rights to seven power companies to develop the sites in the Pentland Firth and around the Orkneys.

Costa Head, Brough Head, Marwick Head, West Orkney South, West Orkney Middle South, and Armadale have been chosen as wave energy generation sites, while tidal generators will be located at Westray South, Cantick Head, Brough Ness, and Duncansby.

The leases, said a spokesman for the Crown Estate, represent the world’s first commercial leasing programme for wave and tidal energy generation sites.

“These waters have been described as the Saudi Arabia of marine power and the wave and tidal projects,” said Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister.

“They underline the rich natural resources of the waters off Scotland.”

Picture: The world’s first operating, commercial-scale tidal energy stream turbine in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. Paul Faith/PA Wire