Perhaps the UK is getting the message

Given that the oil production in the UK is falling faster than anticipated it appears the government may be taking accelerated steps to find alternatives.  Recently there was the announcement of the wind farm off the Thames, and now there is the tidal power off Scotland.
Scotland aims to generate 10 percent of its electricity from tidal and wave power which would be equivalent to replacing a huge fossil fueled power station, the Scottish government said this week.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said he was making changes to renewable energy support regulations to kick start millions of pounds of investment in marine energy.

"Tens of millions of pounds of support will be available -- with the potential for hundreds of millions to be invested in new wave and tidal projects around Scotland's shores," Stephen said in a statement. . . . . .The Executive has a target of generating 18 percent of Scotland's power from green sources by 2010, higher than the UK national goal of 10 percent.

Note that the original Scottish Executive press release quotes the deputy First Minister as also saying...

"We have already done much to support the sector, particularly at the world class testing centre on Orkney. Yet to date in contrast to wind power, we have seen no significant commercial projects for wave or tidal power in Scotland. That has to change." quite a bit of lead time before anything comes of that I suspect.

More .uk stuff:

Leases of sites for offshore windfarm sites and the like tend to fall under the purview The Crown Estate as:

The Crown Estate owns around 55% of the foreshore (between mean high and mean low water) and approximately half of the beds of estuarial areas and tidal rivers in the United Kingdom. It also owns the seabed out to the 12 mile territorial limit, including the rights to explore and exploit the natural resources of the UK continental shelf, excluding oil, gas and coal.

The Crown Estate does not own the water column, oil, gas and coal, or govern public rights such as navigation and fishery over tidal waters

Maps of round one and two sites for offshore windfarms at the above linked Crown Estates page.

Also the .uk department of trade and industry just this week announced the results of the 23rd Seaward Licensing Round for North Sea oil and gas exploration.

Interestingly that page also points to maps and documents indicate which blocks in the round overlap potential windfarm lease areas.

Thanks for this - I suspect that the UK is out in front of us on this, and we therefore really appreciate these insights.
The UK knows that the status quo isn't acceptable nor is it good to bet on a  future of ever-increasing dependence on foreign sources of energy. The North Sea decline is a rude wakeup call, as well as the "terror tax" on crude prices today. Average, middle income folks are having increasing difficulty making ends meet... this winter should be extremely interesting in both the UK and the USA.
As someone from the UK/Scotland I suppose I should say a few things. We have (so I heard) 40% of the wind (don't ask me how they calculated this)
available over Europe. Windpower is starting to get somewhere and Scottish Gas are piloting a scheme to implement microturbines for domestic generation. We have however lost out to the Danes in terms of providing the hardware for the growing Euro windpower market.
Wave and tidal power:our companies and universities are hoping to get a lead here and if this is a viable technology then things could get moving fast.
Nuclear: the lobby is really getting to work and I do not doubt that this is going to make a big comeback.
As for Nicol Stephen, he is a businessman-politician who only sees these technologies as providing the backbone for a renewal of the scottish economy along Washington-Consensus capitalist lines. A German company is thinking of making a bid for Scottish Power (the biggest energy cmpany here I think) and he could block it but for some reason he is shying away from doing so despite certain job losses. Nicol Stephen is also behind a coming cut in business taxes and this is where his real nterest lies. The Scottish Executive (the devolved govt. here) is also making a push for increasing immigration to stem population decline (which is modest and may have an explanation in a generational demographic trend) and has made noises about helping organic agriculture and has done next to nothing to help. As for our Scottish Green Party they are useless and weak. Their first legislative proposal once the Scottish Parliament was up and running was connected to gay rights (not the first priority in our enlightened age).
We are not ahead of the US at all. Indeed our CO2 emissions reductions may have been completely negated by emissions coming from the soil as measured since 1978 (see the latest issue of Nature or is it Science?!!!)
More from the UK
Britain must use less oil
Crisis forces Chancellor to stress renewable energy
"The long-term shift away from oil, and the knock-on benefits to climate change, has been identified by Brown as key priorities for his current spending review as the world nears the crunch point of peak oil production - when the amount of 'black gold' being extracted starts drying up. Experts say it could trigger a global recession as scarce oil becomes ever more expensive."