What is Ocean Energy?
Tidal current energy
is created by local regular diurnal (24-hour) or semi-diurnal (12+ hour) flows of ocean water caused by the tidal cycle. Kinetic energy can be harnessed usually near shore and particularly where there are constrictions, such as straits, islands and passes. It represents the most mature technology sited at a pre-commercial scale level.
is created as kinetic energy from the wind transmitted to the upper surface of the ocean. At present there are several different wave energy technology designs and some are at the cutting edge of engineering design even though it represents the technology with the highest deployment potential in Europe
Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)
uses the temperature difference between surface and deep water in a heat cycle to produce electricity. Although tropical areas are most favourable for the exploitation of this source of energy, the potential resources are enormous.
Osmotic power generation
exploits the energy available from differences in the salt concentration in seawater and is especially suited to countries with abundant fresh water resources flowing into the sea. There are two practical methods for this – reversed electro-dialysis and pressure retarded osmosis.
Oceans represent a huge resource for renewable energy that can be used to produce electricity. The main forms of ocean energy are waves, tides, marine currents, and salinity and temperature gradients [SETIS 2014]. Currently, ocean energy technology is still at an early stage of development compared to more mature renewable energy technologies such as wind energy or photovoltaics [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a].
The global potential of ocean energy resources is very large. In Europe, wave and tidal energy could reach an installed capacity of 100 GW by 2050 and deliver 260 TWh of electricity which equals the consumption of about 65 million households [Badcock-Broe et al. 2014].
Ocean energy offers opportunities for growth and job creation, especially also for coastal communities. [European Ocean Energy 2013] estimates that there is the potential to create 20 000 jobs throughout the supply chain of the ocean energy sector by 2035.
Wave and tidal energy are currently the form of ocean energy with most mature technologies [Magagna & Uihlein 2015b].
Many tidal energy devices are still in the research and development (R&D) phase. A number of devices have undergone extensive sea testing using full-scale demonstration devices and are operating well and reliably. The next stage of the development process will involve the deployment of arrays (or farms) of multiple devices. The first array is expected to be deployed in 2016 in the United Kingdom [Magagna & Uihlein 2015b]. Wave devices are currently lagging behind tidal in terms of technological development. Many different wave energy devices and designs are currently being studied and/or developed but only about 20% of them are at a full-scale prototype stage.
Further information on ocean energy can be found at the Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS).
References [SETIS 2014] SETIS: Ocean Energy: Technology Information Sheet. European Commission. https://setis.ec.europa.eu/publications/technology-information-sheets/ocean-wave-energy-technology-information-sheet [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a] Magagna D and Uihlein A: 2014 JRC Ocean Energy Status Report. EUR 26983 EN (JRC 93521). Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC93521 [Badcock-Broe et al. 2014] Badcock-Broe A, Flynn R, George S, Gruet R, and Medic N: Wave and Tidal Energy Market Deployment Strategy for Europe. http://www.si-ocean.eu/en/Market-Deployment/Market-Deployment-Strategy/ [European Ocean Energy 2013] European Ocean Energy: Industry Vision Paper 2013. European Ocean Energy Association, Brussels. [Magagna & Uihlein 2015b] Magagna D and Uihlein A: Ocean energy development in Europe: Current status and future perspectives. International Journal of Marine Energy 11 (84–104). DOI:10.1016/j.ijome.2015.05.001
What are the barriers and needs of Ocean Energy?
The main barriers and needs facing the sector are shown in Table 1 [MacGillivray et al. 2013].
|Enabling technology||Some elements of core technology still have to be demonstrated over long periods of operation. Current installation practices and procedures are currently sub-optimal in terms of safety, practicality and cost, although this may be an unavoidable step in order to develop optimal deployment strategies and enabling technologies later on.||To reach a wider sector engagement to attract interest of the supply chain is essential. In line with the supply chain, the array development is a key factor for both reaching optimal size of installation and attracting the sector. Further to this, a second stage will require the optimization of O&M. In addition and in order to achieve the sector engagement it is essential to achieve a grade of commonality that will enable the supply chain, allowing the supply chain companies to improve their R&D results in a subsequent stage.|
|Risk management||For the moment, utility scale projects may be deemed "too risky" in the current economic and political climate. The current deployment pathway seems to be taking a technological jump that is larger than investors are able or wish to support.||Routes or new business models, under the appropriate political framework have to be explored and supported for facilitating risk-sharing. This pathways, will allow setting up the next generation of systems capable of reducing the ratio cost – performance.|
|Design consensus||At present there is a lack of design consensus, particularly for wave energy technology, yet the wave and tidal sector does not have the significant market demand to support the generation of tailor-made solutions for each application or site. There is more scope for commonality in the tidal sector, where there is, for example, some convergence upon a horizontal axis turbine.||The need for reaching the quoted grade of commonality will lead to a design consensus required at this market stage. In a future mature market, the transition from commonality to freedom of design could allow promoting the mature market.|
|Grid access||In some cases, particularly in Scotland, the lack of secured access to grid connection points is a significant barrier. Electrical connection to the grid makes up around 5 % of lifetime costs for both wave and tidal arrays, although this cost is highly variable between sites [MacGillivray et al. 2013]. Grid connections to onshore grids can also be problematic, as in some cases the grid cannot absorb the electricity from wave energy production.||It is mandatory to ensure an adequate grid connection otherwise a delay in new projects will be inevitable. Energy trades have to be ensured to guarantee the feasibility of projects.|
|Economic perspective||There is a need to bridge the gap between the expectations of investors and those of technology developers. Expectations need to be aligned with realistic deployment trajectories that are within the capabilities of technology developers and with appropriate funding, whether through public or private finance.||Increase the understanding of stakeholders should be done based on both technical and economic perspective. To do so, the sector requires metrics in the sense of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) not showing bias to a particular technology. Based on them, expectations from investors will become realistic.|
|Environmental mitigation measures||Some in the sector feel that legislators are over-cautious when formulating environmental legislation and call for greater flexibility. Also, when it comes to deployment, coastal management is key to regulating potential conflicts over the use of coastal space with other maritime activities.||Based on the stakeholder consultation process carried out by (MacGillivray et al. 2013), the legislation has to be in accordance with the level of development which means the establishment of realistic requirements based on the existing or upcoming technology development.|
References [MacGillivray et al. 2013] MacGillivray A, Jeffrey H, Hanmer C, Magagna D, Raventos A, and Badcock-Broe A: Ocean Energy Technology: Gaps and Barriers. Strategic Initiative for Ocean Energy (SI Ocean). http://www.si-ocean.eu/en/upload/docs/WP3/Gaps%20and%20Barriers%20Report%20FV.pdf
What are industry and the EU doing about Ocean Energy?
Europe continues to be a global leader in wave and tidal technologies. The European market has reached more than EUR 100 million in terms of investment. According to the maturity grade of the technology, the role of the public sector and research institutions is essential to promote the creation of spin-offs and start-up companies. From this public perspective Europe leads the field in ocean energy technology research Figure 1).
Distribution of global funding for ocean energy technologies based on the countries for the year 2011.
Source: [Corsatea et al. 2015]
As a result, Europe offers state-of-the-art testing facilities such as the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in the Orkney Islands (Scotland), the Wave Hub off the north coast of Cornwall (UK), the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) at Lemoiz on the Basque Coast (Spain), and the Danish Wave Energy Centre (Dan WEC) at Roshage in Hanstholm (Denmark)
In the European framework, the private investment accounts for more than 55 % of the total European market. The distribution between public and private investment per country is shown in Figure 2.
Share of the ten leading countries in Europe in terms of public and corporate R&D funding in ocean energy technologies for the year 2011.
Source: [Corsatea et al. 2015]
Concerning research, in the short term, wave and tidal energy technologies are still in the RD&D phase, with an estimated cumulative global capacity of 21 MW of wave power predicted for 2020, which is 20 % less than Bloomberg’s 2013 forecast. Global capacity from tidal energy may reach 148 MW, about 21 % down on the previous estimate. However, taking into account ongoing projects, by 2018 only about 40 MW of tidal and 26 MW of wave energy capacity will be deployed in Europe [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a]. Recent analyses have estimated an installed capacity for wave and tidal energy combined of 15 GW by 2030 and 71 GW by 2050 depending on the success of this technology’s development [Lacal-Arantegu et al. 2014]. As more devices are successfully deployed, costs can be expected to come down and, in the longer term, a multi-GW annual market should evolve.
References [Corsatea et al. 2015] Corsatea T, Fiorini A, Georgakaki A, and Lepsa B: Capacity Mapping: R & D investment in SET-Plan technologies Reference year 2011. JRC 95364/EUR 27184 EN. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. https://setis.ec.europa.eu/system/files/Capacities-map-2015.pdf [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a] Magagna D and Uihlein A: 2014 JRC Ocean Energy Status Report. EUR 26983 EN (JRC 93521). Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC93521 [Lacal-Arantegu et al. 2014] Lacal-Arantegu R, Jäger-Waldau A, Bocin-Dumitriu A, Sigfusson B, Zubi G, Magagna D, Carlsson J, Perez Fortes M del M, Moss R, Lazarou S, Baxter D, Scarlat N, Giuntoli J, Moro A, Padella M, Kousoulidou M, Vorkapic V, Marelli L, Steen M, Zucker A, Moya Rodriguez J, Bloem H, and Moles C: 2013 Technology Map of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan). JRC 86357/EUR 26345 EN. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg
What is the current and future potential place of Ocean Energy in the energy system?
Several estimates on the current and future potential of ocean energy in the EU energy system exist. EU While the installed capacity has tripled from 3.5 MW in 2009 to currently over 10 MW installed capacity, the currently observed trend in the development of the sector is below the initial expectations [European Ocean Energy 2013]. According to [Badcock-Broe et al. 2014], Europe could have up to 100 GW of wave and tidal energy installed capacity by 2050, delivering 260 TWh of electricity per year. According to other sources, the predicted cumulative wave and tidal capacity globally is expected to reach about 170 MW by 2020 [BNEF 2014]. Based on [European Ocean Energy 2013], and taking into consideration wave and tidal current energy, Ireland will lead ocean energy installation with 500 MW by 2020, followed by France (380 MW), UK (250 – 300 MW) and Portugal (250 MW).
References [European Ocean Energy 2013] European Ocean Energy: Industry Vision Paper 2013. European Ocean Energy Association, Brussels. [Badcock-Broe et al. 2014] Badcock-Broe A, Flynn R, George S, Gruet R, and Medic N: Wave and Tidal Energy Market Deployment Strategy for Europe. http://www.si-ocean.eu/en/Market-Deployment/Market-Deployment-Strategy/ [BNEF 2014] Tidal stream and wave power - a lot still to prove. http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/tidal-stream-wave-power-lot-still-prove/
Who is/should be involved in Ocean Energy?
Taking into consideration the most mature technologies, tidal and wave, companies operating in the sector come from the countries stated in previous sections as leader in ocean technology, namely the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, France (Figure 4).
Number of tidal and wave developers per country
Source: [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a]
In terms of national programmes or investments, the same countries are leading in the ranking. It can be observed that countries at the Atlantic Arc are those with a larger market or energy resource and also those with larger efforts in terms of investments since Mediterranean seas offer limited resources compared to the Atlantic Ocean.
At the regional level, several regions have included ocean or marine technology as a policy priority aligned with the Blue Growth EU priority and the sub-priority of Blue Renewable Energy (Table 2).
Maps of the public (a) and corporate (b) R&D investment in ocean energy in Europe.
Legend in EUR million [Corsatea et al. 2015]
|Region / Country Name||Description||Capability||Capability(Sub)||Target Market||Target Market (Sub)|
|Hamburg||Energy, climate, environmental protection & marine technology||Energy production & distribution||Energy production & distribution||Energy distribution|
|Basse-Normandie||Renewable marine energy generation||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
|Pays de la Loire||Marine industries: naval construction, offshore construction, renewable marine energy||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
|Réunion||Marine energy||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
|Ireland||Marine Renewable Energy||Energy production & distribution||Energy production & distribution|
|Portugal||Valorisation of marine ecosystems and links with renewable energy||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly||Marine energy||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
|Scotland||Marine energy||Energy production & distribution||Power generation/renewable sources||Energy production & distribution||Power generation / renewable sources|
References [Magagna & Uihlein 2015a] Magagna D and Uihlein A: 2014 JRC Ocean Energy Status Report. EUR 26983 EN (JRC 93521). Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC93521 [Corsatea et al. 2015] Corsatea T, Fiorini A, Georgakaki A, and Lepsa B: Capacity Mapping: R & D investment in SET-Plan technologies Reference year 2011. JRC 95364/EUR 27184 EN. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. https://setis.ec.europa.eu/system/files/Capacities-map-2015.pdf [Eye@RIS3 2015] Eye@RIS3. http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/map
Policy brief Juan Pablo Jiménez, Andreas Uihlein