Wave and tidal power: combating climate change
Dr Stephanie Merry, Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Ten years ago, the European Commission announced a major legislation package, the Renewable Energy Directive. The Directive implements EU-wide renewable energy targets endorsed by the European Council and for the UK the overall (mandatory) target share of total energy (i.e. electricity, transport and heat) from renewable sources by 2020 is 15%. The UK must continue to comply with this Directive until it exits from the EU.
These targets are ambitious, but if just 0.1% of the global ocean energy resource (tidal, wind, wave and OTEC) were harnessed, it would provide sufficient power for the whole world five times over (Marine Foresight Panel, 1997). The UK possesses the richest wave and tidal stream energy resource in Europe.
This lecture will present an overview of the UK’s marine energy sector and of the technologies being developed to exploit wave and tidal stream energy for generating electricity. The barriers to development of the embryonic marine renewable energy industry, in which the UK leads the world, will be explored, with specific reference to the experiences of “first mover” companies.