SgurrEnergy, the renewable energy consultancy, has commenced a research project with the University of Edinburgh and ScottishPower Renewables to establish ways to reduce uncertainties for wave and tidal projects. The three-year project will provide solutions to some of the current issues in order to meet the needs of the growing wave and tidal industry and help to unlock the vast potential of the UK’s renewable resources.
As part of the University of Edinburgh’s Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE), the research campaign will identify individual components of the energy yield estimation process. Based on this research, priority areas will be highlighted and further quantified in order to understand where the biggest reductions can be achieved. These areas will then become the focus of targeted research which will seek to develop improved measurement techniques, modelling tools and yield prediction processes for the benefit of the industry.
“The uncertainty calculation is the result of a long chain of measurements, modelling and calculations, all of which have their error bands," said Alan Mortimer, director of innovation at SgurrEnergy. "At present, uncertainty in wave and tidal is far too high, in some cases 30% of total energy yield estimate."
Resolving this issue could help to secure greater investment for technologies and for projects, and encourage faster growth in the sector, according to Mortimer.
SgurrEnergy’s expertise with wind energy performance prediction and analysis will play a key role in the project. Analysis and calculation techniques have benefited from a huge amount of development over the years, under considerable pressure from investors who need to know that their project will meet its IRR requirements. Much of this learning is also relevant to wave and tidal technologies.
The additional collaboration with Scottish Power Renewables brings a pragmatic and practical approach to the project, with a wealth of wave and tidal development experience, including the industry-leading Islay Tidal Array project.
“This project is a collaboration between academia and industry, harnessing industry expertise, practical experience and theory to shed light on this important area of research," said Ksenia Siedlecka, IDCORE manager at University of Edinburgh.
The findings of this research project will deliver greater understanding of risk reduction in the industry, making investment in wave and tidal a more attractive offer and ensuring certainty of this exciting sector, said Scottish Power Renewables' Paul Carruthers.