OEEC: Proving technology reliability a key step to advance marine energy sector
Marine Energy Event, held on Wednesday at the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference (OEEC) 2016 in Amsterdam, gathered a number of government and industry experts who provided the attendees with the latest information on the marine energy developments across the world.
The event kicked off with a presentation from Matthijs Soede, Research Programme Officer at the European Commission, who talked about the marine renewable energy in a political context, offering an overview of EU’s policy on ocean energy, as well as its financial opportunities that have been set up to boost the sector.
Moving on from the political context to the R&D and testing efforts, Nicolas Wallet, FORESEA Manager at European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), spoke about real-sea testing of wave and tidal energy technologies at EMEC emphasizing also the collaborations with other testing centers set up to expedite the development of the technology.
One of the less established marine energy technologies, OTEC, was also covered during the marine energy event, with a presentation from Yasuyuki Ikegami, Head of OTEC Division at Saga University and one of the members of the Japanese delegation which attended the event, who gave on overview of OTEC developments in Japan, as well as an estimate that the OTEC plants could become commercial in 2-3 years.
The Dutch marine energy developments and opportunities for export were presented in great detail by Peter Scheijgrond, from MET-support and a member of the board at EWA, which was in a latter session backed by an overview of the project and technology developments from the Dutch tidal turbine manufacturer Tocardo.
The presentation was delivered by Tocardo’s CEO, Hans van Breugel, who talked about Tocardo’s projects in the UK and Canada, in addition to the grid-connected tidal arrays in the Netherlands.
The latest developments of the largest tidal in-stream array project, the MeyGen project, currently being installed off Scotland, were presented by Atlantis Resources’ Director of Power Generation, Stephen Ward.
The event was wrapped up with an interesting interactive closing panel on the future opportunities of the marine energy, which gathered a diverse set of speakers, ranging from policy makers to project developers.
The various topics were covered during the closing panel, from research and development activities, policy, financial opportunities, and the issues in the way to commercialize the sector.
The panel was moderated by Britta Schaffmeister from Dutch Marine Energy Centre who were also sponsoring the event, and included Rianne Post, Senior Policy Advisor at Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Sander Steenbrink, General Manager of Research and Development Department at Boskalis, Matthijs Soede, and Stephen Ward as speakers.
The key message delivered by the panel was that the fastest way to advance tidal, wave, and OTEC industries was to first prove the reliability of the technology in order to build up the credibility for the investors which will inevitably lead to the commercialization.
Impressions on the Marine Energy Event
Matthijs Soede: “I’m seeing people really interested in the sector who are putting a lot of energy to further develop it. What is important is to show the reliability of the technology, and now is the time to prove that. I think the things are going in the right direction, especially with tidal energy.”
Stephen Ward: “Today was very informative, very useful and I’m glad I came. The closing panel was lively; it was good to be at the debate from the floor, and some very interesting questions were asked.”
Nicolas Wallet: “The general feeling is that of optimism after attending the Marine Energy Event, which was concluded on an extremely positive vibe, especially for the tidal energy sector. It’s very good to see progress here in the Netherlands, and EMEC is proud to be part of the cooperation links between the Dutch and Scottish test centers.”
One of the attendees at the conference, Marisa Monteiro, Legal Adviser at WTS Energy, said: “The Marine Energy Event itself exceeded my expectations, because it’s not too often that you feel that there’s a real brainstorming happening and I felt that I really was at the beginning of a new economy and new business.”
Wouter de Buck, Business Development at the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), who also attended the event, said: “From the side of NWP we see energy from water as a very interesting next step to combine energy production with the water safety. Because we in the Netherlands are already known for water safety, this could be an excellent new step to attract the people from all over the world to show them that energy production and water safety is combinable.”