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ANALYSISRENEWABLES


A computer-generated image of the planned Kyle Rhea Tidal Array Project off Isle of Skye in Scotland.


Marine power starts to flow


decade but there are growing signs it could become a significant new market for some. Ocean heavy lift vessel operators, for example, are likely to be asked to help with the installation of both the turbines and their foundations in a similar fashion to the way they currently service the offshore wind industry.


M


Much of the current pioneering work when it comes to developing wave and tidal energy is being undertaken in Europe, particularly in Scotland where the Orkney based European Marine Energy Centre earlier this year celebrated 10 years of existence. The facility is said to be the world’s first and only test centre for wave and tidal energy devices.


arine renewable energy is unlikely to present heavy lift operators and project


forwarders with a tidal wave of new business over the next


Europe’s current lead in the wave and tidal energy sector, as well as a brief update on the pace of development elsewhere in the world, were highlighted in a recent ‘industry vision 2013’ paper published by the European Ocean Energy Association, an industry membership organisation that represents the sector in its dealings with the European Commission and other EU bodies.


European capacity


“At over 10 MW, the current installed [tidal] capacity in Europe is substantially higher than anywhere else in the world – Canada (0.25 MW), China (4.2 MW) or Korea (0.25MW). With over 20 MW of new projects now consented for construction in Europe, installed capacity is set to increase rapidly from now on,” it stated. “However, this is not a lead that the EU


Tidal versus wave power


Although frequently talked about under a general ‘ocean’ or ‘marine’ energy heading, ‘tidal’ and ‘wave’ power are different.


In the case of the first, explains the European Ocean Energy Association, tidal streams and currents offer a consistent source of kinetic energy caused by regular tidal cycles. “Tidal barrages


72 July/August 2013


exploit the rise and fall of tides in estuaries and bays to produce electricity.” For wave power, states the association, devices are located different distances from the shoreline, either on the seabed or surface floating. “All derive energy from the movement and power of ocean waves.”


can take for granted. Those other countries are rapidly increasing their investment support for pre-commercial device testing. Given their industrial strength, China and Korea, as well as Japan and the US, have the potential to be substantial competitors.” Meanwhile, continues the report, the European ocean energy industry’s goal is to deliver “reliable and cost-effective” electricity from several small ocean energy arrays of up to 10 MW from 2015; and for the front-runners to deliver larger-scale projects of up to 50 MW by 2020 in preparation for wholesale market roll-out from 2025.


Going into more detail about projected European installed wave and tidal energy generation capacity by 2020, the paper suggests the leading individual countries will include Ireland (500 MW), France (380 MW), the UK (200-300 MW), Portugal (250 MW) and Spain (100 MW). “So far, the UK is leading European development. The UK has created a haven for high-risk early investment – courtesy of an attractive mix of testing facilities, stable policy and good revenue incentives,” states the report. However, it continues, other ‘Atlantic Arc’ countries have seeded a project development pipeline which could deliver over 1.8 GW of installed capacity by 2030. “France and Ireland are gearing up to ensure that ocean energy arrays are installed in their waters before 2020. Spain and Portugal may be more risk averse in austere times; but they do have some of the most economic wave power resources in Europe, making mass-market deployment off the Iberian coastline post-2020 not just attractive, but inevitable,” it argues. Elsewhere in Europe, continues the report, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have all recognised the potential importance of


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