Marine Energy Event: Commercial and R&D need to learn to communicate

We’re bringing you a short summary of the key messages delivered during Marine Energy Event, held on Wednesday as part of Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) 2017.

The key messages were presented by seven speakers of the Marine Energy Event after a day full of interesting discussions and suggestions for growth of the marine energy sector and bringing it closer to commercialization.

The closing panel, which looked at opportunities for the future in marine energy, was moderated by Britta Schaffmeister from Dutch Marine Energy Centre (DMEC), who challenged the speakers to make ‘bold statements’ about the sector.

Ton Fijen, Tidal Lagoon Power: “We wouldn’t mind if the UK government at least would come forward and start the discussion with us. Finalizing the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon agreement would open a way to a whole host of projects – not just in the UK, but internationally.”

Eric van den Eijnden, Tidal Bridge: “Regarding the commercial development of the marine energy projects – go big and just do it, because I think that’s the solution.”

Joost Holleman, Twin Valleys: “I’ve lost two years on calculations and market prognosis. If they are right, there will be hundred thousands devices installed by 2050 and I think that is a good opportunity for this market.”

Olivier Benyessaad, Bureau Veritas: “In the French market, we have a small company called HydroQuest that went for river turbines. They were unknown a few years ago, and now they will sell almost 40 turbines for the first river application.

“They didn’t wait for any standard or any investor to bring in their project – they had the region with them that was convinced they need to develop locally this resource with potential. They did it, and went to market. So, if all the countries were focused to push their own development even more this should pop up naturally. When something works, everyone wants to replicate and we create more and more business.”

Antonio Jarquin Laguna, Delft University of Technology: “There is still plenty of space for R&D, whether it’s in low tier or high tier levels – optimizing certain technologies. But there is also plenty of room for game-changers and innovations and R&D is present in all of them, so for us – the University should always keep looking at it and working not only to innovate but to find solutions for the industry.”

Oliver Wragg, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC): “I’m going to go with EMEC’s catchphrase which is: Get metal wet. Just get out there, get kit in the water, start learning. Don’t spend all your time at the desk thinking you’ll be able to solve all it from there, because it’s only when you get out in the real world and you see the challenges you’ll know what to do to solve them.”

Marcella Askew, Seabased: “There’s nothing more exciting than working in an industry that does not exist. If you love to roll up your sleeves and get in and solve problems creatively, and solve them again, and again – and not take no for an answer – this is where you need to be. And you can save the world at the same time.

“If I was going to have a challenge I would say R&D needs to start talking to commercial from day one, and commercial needs to figure out how to talk to R&D and respect their answers. If we have more of this, things could move a bit faster.”

Read a more detailed overview of all of the sessions and useful messages for the marine energy development delivered during the Marine Energy Event here.