Friday 3 November 2017

It's difficult to avoid puns in wave energy

I attended a very interesting talk yesterday by Matthew Hannon. He admitted that it's difficult to avoid puns in wave energy, which you can see from the title of his latest work (Lost at Sea or a New Wave of Innovation?). Based on interviews and innovation indicators,e.g. number of patents, his main findings were:

1) The policy driving development until recently was aimed at taking wave energy to the utility-scale market. For various reasons it had unintended effects: companies were pressured into over-promicing, and collaborations were avoided. This ultimately resulted in disinvestment, repeated mistakes, and reduced confidence in the technology.

2) Wave Energy Scotland has policies that directly address these problems: encouring sub-system focus, encouraging collaborations, and taking private capital with strings attached out of early development. The full impact of this policy has yet to emerge.

3)The present challenges are Brexit and the present Westminster energy policy, which is focussing on reducing costs of existing technology and has backed away from supporting new technology.

There was a panel discussion afterwards with Max Carcas (Caelulum), Elva Bannon (WES), Chris Stark (Energy and Climate Change, Scottish Government), and Andy MacDonald (Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult). Elva mentioned that Europe are putting into place a European version of WES. There were several mentions of the Contract for Difference and general agreement that this was not an appropriate support mechanism for wave power.

Matthew has a more detailed summary (including a video) on his blog

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