Renew On Line (UK) 50

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 150 July-Aug 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.  Mind the  Funding Gap

2.  1 GW of Wind - RSPB fears

3.  Marine Renewables

4. Still no to Tidal Barrage/Lagoon

5. Biofuels Push

6. 2000 solar  roofs

7. Transmission Debate

8. Mine Methane shafted

9. Lords on Climate Change

10. RO price rises

11. New Renewable projects around the UK

12. Wind power costs

13. Scotland invests  to save energy

14. SEPN charts progress …but SDC wants

15 Renewables around the World

16. EU new : wind at 30GW

17. Nuclear News: Bush bans reprocessing

3. Marine Renewables

A lot has been happening on wave and tidal power front recently.

500kW Stingray  Having proved the validity of the Stingray tidal current concept and learnt ‘a huge amount about the nature of the tidal resource with the first 150kW unit’, the developers Engineering Business say they are using the results of the Shetland demonstration programme to develop a 500kW device. EB say that ‘this features a development of the oscillating hydroplane concept that will increase power output whilst allowing prolonged operation.’  They add that it will form the basis of a 5MW offshore ‘pre commercial’ power station that, funds permitting, EB plans to begin installing in 2005.

Wave Hub in Cornwall  RegenSW has announced plans for a Wave Hub system to be installed of the N. coast of Cornwall to provide a common power collector node for a range of wave energy projects- thus aiding the final pre-commercial stage of development by providing a testing facility for devices in arrays. The hub will sit on the sea bed and allow projects to feed in their power outputs, which will then be fed to the national grid. Users will have to pay a fee but can recoup this from electricity sales. The DTI is providing some finance for the £400,000 project, which is seen as a vital tool to help developers get started- avoiding the need for them to each make expensive sea- to land- to- grid connections.

Tidal Electric The offshore tidal lagoon idea is still being pushed strongly.  According to a report by Friends of the Earth Cymru, if an area in the Severn estuary equivalent to 11 miles by 11miles was impounded to make a tidal basin, it could provide 2.75GW-  6% of the UK’s electricity.  A consultants report led by W.S Atkins and ABPlmer on Tidal Electrics proposed 30 MW scheme in Swansea bay is due out soon. However, the Government is not very interested in the idea, claiming that it is unlikely to be economically attractive- see right.

These and many other ideas fed into the Wave and Tidal power Conference back in Feb., organised by BWEA and Regen SW.  Nearly 250 delegates attended Presentations included perspectives from the marine renewables industry, manufacturing, the City, DTI and NGOs.  In his post-conference report on the BWEA’s web site Michael Hay, the BWEA’s new Marine Renewables Development Manager, noted that although the government were looking more kindly at wave and tidal power these days, developers were still finding it hard to get the right kind of support. For example Max Carcas from Ocean Power Delivery, whose full-scale Pelamis wave-snake device was about to be deployed, highlighted ‘the need for either capital grants or feed-in-tariffs in order to create a more confident and accommodating market for emerging technologies,’ and stated his belief in ‘the strength of combining the two mechanisms under the RO in order to pull technological innovation into a more competitive position’.

This was further enhanced by Frank Numann of the Portuguese National Institute for Engineering, Technology and Innovation, who commented on Portugal’s system of capital grants and guaranteed feed-in-tariffs that will be used to help achieve a wave energy target of 50MW by 2010. In outlining this market support for wave technologies Andrew Garrad of Garrad Hassan reemphasised this point in a talk full of enthusiasm in the belief that this emerging industry must learn from the experience of the wind industry and not repeat the mistakes  that have previously led to a promising major industry being developed abroad. He stressed the need for logical progression and learning as opposed to the development of devices built for show, reiterating the Danish wind industry example. 

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, officially launched their Marine Energy Challenge. As noted in Renew 149, this is a major new development for marine energy in the UK, set up to assess the potential for marine energy devices to achieve a competitive cost of electricity generation. Eight developers have been selected to take part in a £2.5m evaluation programme running up to Spring next year. Tom Delay told the Bristol gathering “our technological and commercial capabilities combined with our independence and flexibility means we can really help drive the industry forward”. 

See our Reviews section for an account of the day.

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