OES Annual Report Highlights Increased Interest in Ocean Energy

Henry Jeffrey of University of Edinburgh, Chairperson of OES

The Ocean Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Programme (OES) has published its 2018 Annual Report of national policies, research and technology demonstration on ocean energy in its member countries.

The report also presents the achievements and progress made by each of the OES members throughout 2018 in their collaborative projects.

The report reveals that several tidal projects achieved extensive operating hours with multi-GWhs (gigawatt-hours) of generation being clocked up globally.

Wave energy technology has progressed with a number of large-scale laboratory and offshore tests having been successfully undertaken.

Device developments are nearing commercial reality, a growing range of devices are being tested in the water, and the wider supply chain is becoming involved.

Cross-border R&D projects, particularly supported by European Union funding, are accelerating and disseminating the learnings from device developments and deployments, as well as addressing pressing issues, such as design and efficiency improvements, array configurations, environmental impacts and cost reduction. National governments are also showing positive signs to developers and investors by supporting the sector: US DoE announced funding of $25 million to support 12 next-generation marine energy technologies in addition to enabling projects. Wave Energy Scotland selected two devices to go forward to real-sea testing in 2020 with funding of £7.7 million.

Henry Jeffrey of University of Edinburgh, Chairperson of OES, said, “2018 saw commercial interest in ocean energy growing significantly at a global level, but there are considerable investment costs and bottlenecks that will need to be overcome. Globally we are still waiting for clear market signals for ocean energy projects. Such market signals are vital for the industry to progress towards commercialization.

During 2018, progress has been made on a number of OES collaborative strategic tasks. A more rigorous technical review approach for the ocean energy sector has been recognised to be important at this stage, making use of improved evaluation methods and metrics that are currently applied in the evaluation of ocean energy technologies. OES has been working closely with U.S. Department of Energy, Wave Energy Scotland and the European Commission to achieve an internationally accepted approach of performance metrics for ocean energy development to be used by technology developers, investors and funders. Commenting on the major benefits of the application of this process to wave energy, Lauren Moraski of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office said: “A well done technology evaluation process should reflect the logical progression for technology development and use criteria that measure meaningful progress”. Jonathan Hodges of Wave Energy Scotland said: “What the ocean energy sector needs now is to make most efficient use of public funds, deliver the right research, development and demonstration activity and build the confidence of the private investment community. By using the stage gate process, we create the structure to make this happen”.

The Stage Gate Metrics Task is being complemented by the OES Task on Cost of Energy, analysing historical trends, future development and differences among technologies and countries, monitoring the evolution of ocean energy costs and assessing the impact of different drivers on the Levelised Cost of Energy. OES recognized it is also time to validate an approach to assess job creation stimulated by the sector and update projections for the 2030/2050 horizons. The Environmental Task is playing a role by continuing to collect, synthesize, and disseminate information on environmental effects and by providing access to such knowledge and information related to research, monitoring, and evaluation of environmental effects of ocean energy information that helps advance the industry. This task is supported by the publicly accessible, online knowledge management system Tethys, developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

A wide set of actors are involved in launching and implementing initiatives for research collaboration on ocean energy. Working internationally enables nations to pool talent and resources to address global challenges that no country can tackle alone. This report reflects the benefits of cross-cutting coordination between different levels of the industrial scientific and political communities.

The annual report can be found at the following LINK.

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