OES: Wave and Tidal Energy from 5GWh to 45GWh in 10 Years

Global wave and tidal stream energy production has risen tenfold over the last decade, according to a report issued by Ocean Energy Systems (OES).

Ocean Energy Systems (OES) annual report shows cumulative energy produced from wave and tidal stream sources surged from less than 5GWh in 2009 to 45GWh in 2019.

OES chairman Henry Jeffrey from the University of Edinburgh said the new report communicates the sizable global effort to identify commercialisation pathways for ocean energy technologies.

“Our latest report underlines the considerable international support for the marine renewable sector as leading global powers attempt to rebalance energy usage and limit global warming. Decarbonisation has been appointed as the main strategy to tackle this challenge and many countries around the world have revised or set ambitious targets for emission reductions while ramping up the electricity production from renewable resources. The start of this new decade carries considerable promise for ocean energy. Important projects and deployments are being planned for the coming years as the mission to decarbonise intensifies and governments across the globe show increased interest in ocean energy technologies.

“In the last 12 months we have seen considerable progress in the marine renewables sphere. In North America, Canada amended its Marine Renewable Energy Act to extend feed-in-tariffs and Purchasing Power Agreements for tidal energy developers working in FORCE. Meanwhile, the US officially launched a new R&D initiative “Powering the Blue Economy” seeking to relieve power constraints in emerging coastal and off-grid markets through marine renewable energy.

“Similarly, leaders across Europe have identified ocean energy as an essential component in meeting decarbonisation targets, fostering economic growth and creating future employment opportunities. Key developments include the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan and the Blue Growth Strategy. In addition, Spain has drafted ocean energy targets for 2025 (25 MW) and 2030 (50 MW) while Scotland is actively supporting the development of ocean energy technologies through the £10m Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Moreover, the UK enabled the development and testing of several prototype devices including Orbital O2, Minesto’s Deep Green, Magallanes Renovables’ ATIR, and Marine Power Systems’ WaveSub.

“Thanks to an ongoing effort in co-founding prototypes with a cumulative public budget of more than €70 million in 10 years, French developers are also now testing tidal stream (Sabella, Hydroquest) and wave (GepsTecno) devices at scale and at sea.

“Further afield, Australia announced funding for a 10-year $330m Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre and the preparation of a new marine and coastal policy in Victoria. In Asia, India has made tidal, wave and OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation) technologies eligible for ‘Renewable Purchase Obligations’ while Korea completed a short-term OTEC demonstration in the East Sea. In addition, China sought to foster the tidal current energy sector through a temporary feed-in tariff of €0.33/kWh. The LHD tidal current energy project will be the first beneficiary of this incentive.”

OES was launched in 2001 as a ‘Technology Collaboration Programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA). It was created in response to increased ocean wave and tidal current energy activity primarily in Denmark, Portugal and the UK. The organisation now consists of 25 members including specialists from government departments, national energy agencies, as well as research and scientific bodies. Its focus covers all forms of energy generation in which sea water forms the motive power through its physical and chemical properties, including wave, tidal range, tidal and ocean currents, ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradients.

Each year OES presents an annual report including summaries of new, ongoing and recent projects, as well as updated member country reviews.

While the sector continues taking huge strides forward Jeffrey cautioned that several challenges lie ahead for the ocean energy industry centred around affordability, reliability, installability, operability, funding availability, capacity building, and standardization.

“In particular, significant cost-reductions are required for ocean energy technologies to compete with other low-carbon technologies,” he said. “This highlights the importance of the programmes such as the European SET-Plan which aims to demonstrate deployment of ocean energy at commercial scale and drive down costs, aiming for LCOE targets of 10 ct€/kWh and 15 ct€/kWh in 2030 for tidal stream and wave energy respectively.”