Marine renewable energy technologies are young but show much promise for the future. Although unlikely to be as commercially successful as wind energy in the short term, the profile of wave and tidal energy is likely to be much greater over the next few years.
The Carbon Trust told us several years ago that 20% of UK’s current electricity demands could be met by wave and tidal energy. The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition says 252 million megawatt hours a year could be generated off the coast of the US and the World Energy Council has said 1 million gigawatt hours of wave energy hits Australian shores annually.
Huge efforts are being made to tap into energy from moving water and investors are starting to take an interest. The International Wave Energy Summit is to hold a Dragon’s Den for wave energy technologies in London this year. The summit to be held on the 30th June and 1st July is offering a chance for companies to pitch their wave business to potential financial investors.
The Dragons are described by organisers “Wave Energy Today” as having “a wealth of experience and expertise in backing energy projects which you can leverage to build a great business plan“. Each contender has 5 minutes to present their wave business demonstrating technical ability and future plans to the panel of Dragons. First hand feedback is then to be given by the Wave Dragons.
In the UK to date marine technology R&D has been funded by government subsidised body The Carbon Trust. The Trust set up the Marine Energy Accelerator funding program to dish out £3.5 million over a period between 2007 and 2010. To date around half of this has been spent on wave energy Anaconda and tidal stream generator Deep Green.
Many involved in the marine industry point to cost being the current major problem with harsh sea conditions requiring tough technology and giving further problems relating to installation.