Out-Law News 2 min. read

Wave and tidal technology assessment 'benchmark' developed

An 'assessment process' for new wave and tidal energy technologies will give developers more "structure" when developing and testing new concepts, its authors have said.

The Marine Energy Technology Assessment Process (TAP) is aimed at early stage wave and tidal developers, and is intended to structure the development process from concept through to laboratory and analytical testing; to prototype testing, single device deployment and preparing the project's first tidal arrays.

The process has been developed by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in conjunction with Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which operates testing sites across the Orkney Islands. The ORE Catapult is an offshore wind, wave and tidal energy research and innovation centre, which works closely with government innovation service Innovate UK.

Eileen Linklater, EMEC's client relations manager, said that the new process would provide developers with "a structured pathway towards commercialisation that suits their needs".

"Following TAP will help iron out issues earlier in the design process, so that when technologies are deployed at EMEC they can concentrate on the challenges the offshore environment brings," she said. "By de-risking technology earlier on, investor confidence will increase which will help marine energy transition towards being a commercial reality."

The idea behind the TAP is to allow developers to assess their project at various stages of development and identify any areas of uncertainty. They will also be able to track their progress against the TAP, moving from one stage of development to the next as they test and de-risk different aspects of the project.

This standardised format will also benefit investors and sponsors, who will be able to make investment decisions based on what stage the project has reached in the TAP, the ORE Catapult said. Developers will also be able to provide grant awarding bodies with standardised TAP assessment reports, giving those bodies a method of evaluating competing ideas seeking funding.

"A successful wave and tidal sector in the UK – contributing thousands of jobs and millions of pounds to the UK economy - will be underpinned by a well-conceived and managed approach to technology development that allows the industry to move down the cost curve, ultimately reducing the levelised cost of marine energy to levels comparable with other sources of electricity," said Simon Cheeseman, ORE Catapult's wave and tidal specialist.

"Only those technologies and innovations which best contribute to reducing costs will ultimately survive in the market, and the UK must be at the forefront of introducing a new, more disciplined approach to marine renewables sector technology development - this is the 'end to end' technology development regime that TAP provides," he said.

In a new briefing paper published earlier this month, Scottish Renewables called on the government to develop a new 'Energy Innovation Strategy' to help guide its spending of the £500 million it has committed to energy innovation funding over the next five years. Wave and tidal should sit at the centre of this strategy, it said.

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