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Feature

Support grows for ocean energy


edited by Gail Rajgor

Special report. Part 4. Ocean energy (wave and tidal) still remains at an early stage, mainly at a research and development (R&D) phase with a few projects going into demonstration status or scaling their prototypes up.

About the article: This special Renewable Energy Focus power generation focus previews REMIPEG's latest update, carried out in the first four months of 2012 by Lahmeyer International, and presents an overview for each renewable power sector, based on scenarios up to the end of 2011.

This article is taken from the July/August 2013 issue of Renewable Energy Focus (REFocus) magazine. For a free subscription, click here.

Part one - Summary

Part two - China continues its dominance of the global hydropower market

Part three - New markets for solar thermal power gain some momentum

Part four - Wave and Tidal 2012

It is clear however that Governments are gaining confidence in the wave and tidal sector, with new policies and funding programmes introduced to promote industry development and bring the technology closer to a commercial maturity. Key players in this regard are the UK, Ireland, France, Portugal, South Korea and Australia.

The UK government has one of the most ambitious programmes – aiming to develop 200-300MW of ocean energy by 2020. In line with this, two Marine Energy Parks (MEPs) were launched last year to drive the sector forward: the South West Marine Energy Park was launched in January 2012 while the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park kicked off in July 2012.

Worldwide ocean energy power plant market status, end of 2012
  Cumulated installed capacity 2012 (MW) Newly installed capacity 2012 (MW) Estimated electricity generation 2011 (TWh/year)
Europe 248.20 0 0.57
North America 20.30 0 0.05
South America 0 0 0
Asia 258.20 1 0.59
Oceania <0.01 0 0
Africa 0 0 0
World total 527.70
1
1.21
Largest National Market Korea 254 Japan 1 Korea 0.58

Another notable event in the past year was Alstom's acquisition of Tidal Generation Limited (TGL), which is specialised in the design and manufacture of marine stream turbines (previously owned by Rolls-Royce). In 2012, TGL installed a 1MW tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre's (EMEC) full-scale tidal test site in Orkney, Scotland. Also, Siemens acquired all the shares in Marine Current Turbines (MCT) in 2012.

MCT is now operated as a Siemens business under the Siemens Solar & Hydro Division. Two main projects are expected: the 8MW Kyle Rhea project in Scotland and the 10MW farm at the Anglesey Skerries in Wales.

Portugal is also a very active player in the European market and in 2012 it was involved in many projects dealing with different kind of ocean energy issues, such as MARINET (2011-2015), TROPOS (2011-2015), SOWFIA (2010-2012), FAME (2010-2012), WAVEPORT (2009-2012), DEMOWFLOAT (2011-2014) and SEANERGY 2020 (2009-2012).

Among the new projects started in 2012, the Strategic Initiative for Ocean Energy Development (SI Ocean) is significant, researching the most effective way to tackle key barriers to developing a commercial wave and tidal energy sector in Europe. Another project initiated in 2012 was PolyWEC, looking at electro-active polymers for wave energy conversion.

In Denmark, a new energy policy (2012-2020) came into force in March 2012. It targets a 35% renewable energy share of electricity generation with a total investment of €13mn with €3mn of that specifically allocated to wave energy. There are six projects being tested at the DanWEC facilities.

The first wave dragon test device was installed in 2012 in Nissum, Bredning. Wave Dragon is a floating, slack-moored energy converter of the overtopping type that can be deployed in a single unit or in arrays of units in groups resulting in a power plant with a capacity comparable to traditional fossil based power plants. Another notable Danish project is Weptos, a pilot plant for developing and designing a commercial wave energy plant located in Fredericia.

Moving to France, power supply in the country is dominated by nuclear energy, which has a 75% share of market. However, the French government has signalled a desire to develop a marine renewables industry – in March 2012 the France Energies Marines (FEM) programme was established with a budget set of €133.3mn over 10 years.

Sweden also stepped forward with the Sotenäs Project which started at the end of 2011. Once completed it will be the largest power plant built in the world for wave energy. The first stage covers the construction of 1MW, with the plant eventually reaching a total installed capacity of 10MW when the second phase is finished. The project is funded by power company Fortum and the Swedish Energy Agency.

In Ireland the financial crisis resulted in a slow down in the development of ocean energy technologies as a cutback in funding hit the sector. The potential in Ireland is estimated to be 29GW. Outside of Europe, China is working on tidal energy. Projects in progress include:

  • The 40 MW Rushan estuarine tidal power pre-feasibility study in Shandong province;
  • The 20 MW Maluan Bay tidal power pre-feasibility study in Fujian province; and
  • The 10 MW Bachimen tidal power pre-feasibility study in Fujian

In August 2012, the upgrade of the Jiangxia Tidal Power Plant began. It will see the power of the turbine increase from 500kW to 700kW. 

It should be noted that these Chinese plants are all using the more conventional tidal barrage technology.

Part 5 - Rush for PTC saw the US edge China out of wind market lead in 2012

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Comments

ANUMAKONDA JAGADEESH said

10 October 2013
OTEC is an important form of energy. There is the ENERGY ISLAND concept developed by Dominic Michaelis which utilises Solar,Wind,OTEC and Hydrogen.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

elisak said

01 October 2013
Nice article! Just one remark:
"The first wave dragon test device was installed in 2012 in Nissum, Bredning."
Wave Dragon was actually worlds first grid connected floating wave energy device. The pilot plant launched in 2003 was in operation for more than 20.000 hours. As a test rig it was designed for a lifetime of 3 years, and was finally scrapped in 2011.

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