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GSR 2015 - Ocean Energy

55 02 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT OCEAN ENERGY ■■ OCEAN ENERGY MARKETS Ocean energy refers to any energy harnessed from the ocean by means of ocean waves, tidal range (rise and fall), tidal streams, ocean (permanent) currents, temperature gradients, and salinity gradients.1 At the end of 2014, global ocean energy capacity remained at about 530 MW, with most of this coming under the category of tidal power, and specifically tidal barrages across bays and estuaries.2 Most of the development effort in ocean power technologies is focused on tidal, current, and wave power in open waters. The largest ocean energy facilities in operation are all tidal barrage projects and are used for electricity generation. They include the 254 MW Sihwa plant in South Korea (completed in 2011), the 240 MW Rance station in France (1966), the 20 MW Annapolis plant in Nova Scotia, Canada (1984), and the 3.9 MW Jiangxia plant in China (1980).3 Other projects are smaller in capacity, and many are pre-commercial demonstration projects, with a notable concentration (totalling several megawatts) of tidal stream and wave energy development installations in the United Kingdom. Little capacity was added globally during 2014. Virtually all new installations were in some form of pilot or demonstration projects, and most activity that did occur was in European waters. Among significant developments on the horizon is the 398 MW MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland.4 The UK’s Crown Estate, as manager of the UK seabed, announced its commitment to invest USD 15.5 million (GBP 10 million) for the first phase of the MeyGen development in an effort to catalyse investments by others, and to advance other projects towards construction and operation.5 The Crown Estate also opened up leases for further wave and tidal current technology test and demonstration zones in UK waters, some being designated for locally based organisations.6 There are also significant tidal development plans in the Alderney Race between Alderney (UK) and France, where the tidal resource is estimated at 1.4 GW.7 ■■ OCEAN ENERGY INDUSTRY The year was notable for continued innovation and progress towards commercialisation in ocean energy. But the industry also faced some tangible headwinds, particularly for Pelamis Wave Power and Aquamarine Power, two Scottish wave energy firms. Pelamis faced bankruptcy administration in late 2014, after failing to secure the funding necessary to continue further development of its wave energy converters.8 The Scottish government stepped forward with plans to continue the work of Pelamis and to retain some of the company’s staff under Scottish Wave Energy, funded by the Scottish energy budget.9 Subsequently, Wave Energy Scotland acquired the intellectual property and physical assets of Pelamis along with funding of USD 22 million (GBP 14.3 million).10 Also in late 2014, Aquamarine Power announced plans to downsize its business while retaining a core team to continue operations and maintain its Oyster 800 wave machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The decision was said to be the result of financial, regulatory, and technical challenges that are faced by the entire ocean energy sector.11 To address development risk, a new ocean simulation facility was opened at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. The FloWave test tank can simulate real ocean conditions to aid technology developers by potentially “de-risking” the development process before they incur the greater cost of going offshore.12 FloWave and other government-supported test facilities and research can help ameliorate technology-specific risk. Other risks include uncertainties regarding long-term funding as well as adequate interconnection given that the best ocean energy resources are generally not close to grid infrastructure.13 In addition, the EU Ocean Energy Forum was launched in 2014 with the aim of bringing together stakeholders for problem solving and co-operation on ocean energy. The ultimate aim is to forge public-private partnerships to enhance the impact of innovative research and development and to provide a platform for sharing investment risk.14 Most deployments in 2014 were pre-commercial projects that developers hope may be expanded further. Among these is Carnegie Wave Energy’s (Australia) Perth Project, which passed a significant milestone with the deployment of three of its interconnected CETO 5 wave energy devices in late 2014 and early 2015. The devices, which are entirely submerged during operation, are configured for desalinating seawater in addition to power production.15 Among other notable projects was the installation of a 30 kW tidal device by Nova Innovation (Scotland) in the Bluemull Sound in Shetland (Scotland) in April 2014. With funding support from the Scottish government, the project has been called the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine.16 Subsequently, Nova and its partner ELSA (Belgium) secured further funding for a 500 kW array in the same location, using 100 kW devices.17 In early 2015, three grid-connected tidal turbines were installed in a Dutch sea defense dike by Tocardo (Netherlands), in co-operation with the Dutch Tidal Testing Center, with plans to expand this 300 kW installation up to 2 MW upon further evaluation.18 The project was generating electricity for about 100 households.19 The company was also chosen to develop a future 28 MW tidal

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