This paper reflects on the current state of the marine energy industry with specific reference to Scotland, where advances, such as the Scottish government's marine renewables strategic environmental assessment and its announcement of the Saltire prize, are helping to stimulate marine energy developments. The Pentland Firth marine energy project was established in 2007. It utilises partnership working between the principal agencies in the area to assist in establishing the region as a world leader in the development, production and use of renewable energy. The Pentland Firth is a 30 km long stretch of water between Caithness and the Orkney Islands with one of the best tidal resources available anywhere in the world. The project, which aims to provide the key contact for device developers, investors, utility companies and the supply chain, is intended to support the development of a globally important marine energy industry and to offer significant benefits to both the local and national economies in a sustainable and environmentally acceptable manner. The paper examines project constraints and suggests that focusing investment on projects in areas of such significant resources is the most appropriate way to make nationally significant contributions to the economy.