The Scottish Government has approved the development of the largest tidal energy project in Europe to be installed in stages in the Pentland Firth, between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

The project is being undertaken by the Scottish-registered company, MeyGen, which is a joint venture between the investment bank Morgan Stanley, the independent power generator International Power and the tidal technology company, Atlantis Resources Corporation. Atlantis Resources Corporation was founded in Singapore but developed its technology in Australia.

The project will begin with a 9 megawatt demonstration to be scaled up to 86 megawatts when fully operational in 2020.

MeyGen hopes that a second phase would see up to 400 submerged turbines at the site, generating some 398 megawatts.

The Pentland Firth is said to be the world's best site for tidal energy, with the potential to supply more power than three coal-fired power station the size of the largest in the U.K, – or half of Soctland's total power consumption.