What can wave and tidal learn from wind?

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Adam Barber
March 16, 2012
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What can wave and tidal learn from wind?

It was a week of contrasts as the editorial team has been on the road at the Oceanology and RenewableUK Wave And Tidal events. And what’s this got to do with wind? Actually, quite a bit...

Although it’s the 9th annual RUK conference on marine renewables, when comparing it alongside the wind industry, its progress seems rather more pedestrian.

And whilst this can in the main be attributed to the complexity of the technology required, there seems to be less of a common industry consensus on the best way to proceed – something that for all its foibles, the wind sector manages rather well.

Where the wave tidal industry appears to be struggling is in attracting the right sort of investment; ahead of wider commercialisation.

Investment from Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood whilst favourable, and which have achieved a large part of the burgeoning success of the industry, can only provide part of the answer.

Like the early days of the wind industry, the sector needs confidence from a large OEM to take a risk, as Vestas did many years ago. But at the moment, it would appear most industry OEMs are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket - thereby backing one technology that they’re as yet uncertain how to support. Understandably, they’re reluctant to provide technology in exchange for project equity, either.

The venture capital community is even more remote. Until there are discernible track records for the technology, and also for any independent power producers looking to get involved, then VC investor confidence in the sector will remain low.

So can the wind industry provide any assistance in helping to get another promising renewable energy source off the ground, or more accurately, in the water?

Well yes, it can. There are a number of obvious synergies between offshore wind and marine energy and the experience gained in project management, installation and financing for the risk-heavy offshore wind industry, should be readily transferred to the marine business.

And at a technical level, given the constraints on grid infrastructure, it would make sense if wave and tidal schemes could share the interconnectors used by offshore wind.

Together is usually stronger. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for renewables.

It was a week of contrasts as the editorial team has been on the road at the Oceanology and RenewableUK Wave And Tidal events. And what’s this got to do with wind? Actually, quite a bit...

Although it’s the 9th annual RUK conference on marine renewables, when comparing it alongside the wind industry, its progress seems rather more pedestrian.

And whilst this can in the main be attributed to the complexity of the technology required, there seems to be less of a common industry consensus on the best way to proceed – something that for all its foibles, the wind sector manages rather well.

Where the wave tidal industry appears to be struggling is in attracting the right sort of investment; ahead of wider commercialisation.

Investment from Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood whilst favourable, and which have achieved a large part of the burgeoning success of the industry, can only provide part of the answer.

Like the early days of the wind industry, the sector needs confidence from a large OEM to take a risk, as Vestas did many years ago. But at the moment, it would appear most industry OEMs are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket - thereby backing one technology that they’re as yet uncertain how to support. Understandably, they’re reluctant to provide technology in exchange for project equity, either.

The venture capital community is even more remote. Until there are discernible track records for the technology, and also for any independent power producers looking to get involved, then VC investor confidence in the sector will remain low.

So can the wind industry provide any assistance in helping to get another promising renewable energy source off the ground, or more accurately, in the water?

Well yes, it can. There are a number of obvious synergies between offshore wind and marine energy and the experience gained in project management, installation and financing for the risk-heavy offshore wind industry, should be readily transferred to the marine business.

And at a technical level, given the constraints on grid infrastructure, it would make sense if wave and tidal schemes could share the interconnectors used by offshore wind.

Together is usually stronger. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for renewables.

It was a week of contrasts as the editorial team has been on the road at the Oceanology and RenewableUK Wave And Tidal events. And what’s this got to do with wind? Actually, quite a bit...

Although it’s the 9th annual RUK conference on marine renewables, when comparing it alongside the wind industry, its progress seems rather more pedestrian.

And whilst this can in the main be attributed to the complexity of the technology required, there seems to be less of a common industry consensus on the best way to proceed – something that for all its foibles, the wind sector manages rather well.

Where the wave tidal industry appears to be struggling is in attracting the right sort of investment; ahead of wider commercialisation.

Investment from Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood whilst favourable, and which have achieved a large part of the burgeoning success of the industry, can only provide part of the answer.

Like the early days of the wind industry, the sector needs confidence from a large OEM to take a risk, as Vestas did many years ago. But at the moment, it would appear most industry OEMs are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket - thereby backing one technology that they’re as yet uncertain how to support. Understandably, they’re reluctant to provide technology in exchange for project equity, either.

The venture capital community is even more remote. Until there are discernible track records for the technology, and also for any independent power producers looking to get involved, then VC investor confidence in the sector will remain low.

So can the wind industry provide any assistance in helping to get another promising renewable energy source off the ground, or more accurately, in the water?

Well yes, it can. There are a number of obvious synergies between offshore wind and marine energy and the experience gained in project management, installation and financing for the risk-heavy offshore wind industry, should be readily transferred to the marine business.

And at a technical level, given the constraints on grid infrastructure, it would make sense if wave and tidal schemes could share the interconnectors used by offshore wind.

Together is usually stronger. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for renewables.

It was a week of contrasts as the editorial team has been on the road at the Oceanology and RenewableUK Wave And Tidal events. And what’s this got to do with wind? Actually, quite a bit...

Although it’s the 9th annual RUK conference on marine renewables, when comparing it alongside the wind industry, its progress seems rather more pedestrian.

And whilst this can in the main be attributed to the complexity of the technology required, there seems to be less of a common industry consensus on the best way to proceed – something that for all its foibles, the wind sector manages rather well.

Where the wave tidal industry appears to be struggling is in attracting the right sort of investment; ahead of wider commercialisation.

Investment from Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood whilst favourable, and which have achieved a large part of the burgeoning success of the industry, can only provide part of the answer.

Like the early days of the wind industry, the sector needs confidence from a large OEM to take a risk, as Vestas did many years ago. But at the moment, it would appear most industry OEMs are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket - thereby backing one technology that they’re as yet uncertain how to support. Understandably, they’re reluctant to provide technology in exchange for project equity, either.

The venture capital community is even more remote. Until there are discernible track records for the technology, and also for any independent power producers looking to get involved, then VC investor confidence in the sector will remain low.

So can the wind industry provide any assistance in helping to get another promising renewable energy source off the ground, or more accurately, in the water?

Well yes, it can. There are a number of obvious synergies between offshore wind and marine energy and the experience gained in project management, installation and financing for the risk-heavy offshore wind industry, should be readily transferred to the marine business.

And at a technical level, given the constraints on grid infrastructure, it would make sense if wave and tidal schemes could share the interconnectors used by offshore wind.

Together is usually stronger. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for renewables.

It was a week of contrasts as the editorial team has been on the road at the Oceanology and RenewableUK Wave And Tidal events. And what’s this got to do with wind? Actually, quite a bit...

Although it’s the 9th annual RUK conference on marine renewables, when comparing it alongside the wind industry, its progress seems rather more pedestrian.

And whilst this can in the main be attributed to the complexity of the technology required, there seems to be less of a common industry consensus on the best way to proceed – something that for all its foibles, the wind sector manages rather well.

Where the wave tidal industry appears to be struggling is in attracting the right sort of investment; ahead of wider commercialisation.

Investment from Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood whilst favourable, and which have achieved a large part of the burgeoning success of the industry, can only provide part of the answer.

Like the early days of the wind industry, the sector needs confidence from a large OEM to take a risk, as Vestas did many years ago. But at the moment, it would appear most industry OEMs are reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket - thereby backing one technology that they’re as yet uncertain how to support. Understandably, they’re reluctant to provide technology in exchange for project equity, either.

The venture capital community is even more remote. Until there are discernible track records for the technology, and also for any independent power producers looking to get involved, then VC investor confidence in the sector will remain low.

So can the wind industry provide any assistance in helping to get another promising renewable energy source off the ground, or more accurately, in the water?

Well yes, it can. There are a number of obvious synergies between offshore wind and marine energy and the experience gained in project management, installation and financing for the risk-heavy offshore wind industry, should be readily transferred to the marine business.

And at a technical level, given the constraints on grid infrastructure, it would make sense if wave and tidal schemes could share the interconnectors used by offshore wind.

Together is usually stronger. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for renewables.

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Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.