Marine energy project set to launch next year

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has unveiled a new project to extract energy from waves in a bid to boost the UK's marine energy industry.

As part of the works, a Wave Energy Converter system (WECs) will be designed and built to extract energy from waves, with the aim of exploiting the energy potential of the waters from around the UK, the ETI has invested around £24m in marine energy.

It is expected that work will start on the project in summer 2012, with plans in place to commission the work in two phases.

As part of first phase, a detailed design concept for the wave energy converter system will be developed. This needs to be capable of delivering at least 10MW of power and is anticipated to last around 12 months.

The second phase will involve trialling and developing the new system at sea level.

Marine technologies have the potential to play an important role with other offshore renewables, enabling the UK to meet its long-term carbon emission reduction targets.

In its research, the ETI identified cost reduction as fundamental for the development of the marine energy sector.

ETI chief executive Dr David Clarke warned that the long-term viability of wave energy depends on whether it can compete with other low-carbon energy sources, such as wind power.

He said: “Wave energy offers a potential clean energy source for the UK without needing to import fuel but we need to ensure that it is affordable and competitive with other technologies.

“For wave energy to realise its potential there will need to be reductions in the costs of building, installing and operating the devices and associated infrastructure, as well as improvements to device technical performance and reliability.”

The ETI has issued a request for proposals in a bid to encourage organisations to get involved in the project. The deadline for notification of intention to submit a proposal is December 2 and all proposals must be submitted by January 25 2012.

Carys Matthews

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