Seas represent a vast unexploited potential for generation argues Dr George A Aggidis of Lancaster University in the UK, speaking at the Renewable Energy World Europe conference.
Oceans cover more than two thirds of our planet and represent a massive resource, said Dr Aggidis. The worldwide annual tidal energy potential is about 500–1000 TWh while worldwide wave energy resources have been estimated by the World Energy Council to be 2 TW, equivalent to an annual available resource of 17 500 TWh.
If a small fraction of this could be economically harnessed and integrated with other renewable sources such as hydropower, wind, solar and more conventional generation methods, it would contribute a significant percentage of the world’s energy requirements, vastly lowering emissions. Exploiting these resources, in conjunction with energy saving schemes, would avert the need for more power stations, in his view.
Tidal and wave marine renewable energy has an essential role to play in response to increasing energy needs and CO2 reduction, said Dr Aggidis. He describes them as safe, inexhaustible and mostly predictable, offering security of supply, innovation and economic development.
The UK is at the forefront of the ocean renewable energy industry, through its research and development programmes, test facilities, and offshore experience from oil and gas extraction.
Today the POWER-GEN Europe Conference and Exhibition, co-located with Nuclear Power Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe hosted a joint plenary panel discussion on whether Europe’s current energy policy can deliver the legally binding targets it faces. Moderated by international journalist and broadcaster Steven Sackur, the much anticipated debate featured five leading members of the power and energy industry. The panel examined the range of strategic and technical solutions open to the European power industry in order to comply with the European Union’s energy policy.
As well as assessing the ability of the European power industry to meet EU targets on energy consumption and climate change, the expert panel analysed a number of major European energy issues relating to gas and nuclear power, grid infrastructure, and the prospects for carbon capture and storage. Key issues discussed included; security of supply, the impact of renewable on energy prices, the consequences of the recent Fukushima power plant disaster and the reliance on fossil fuels for future energy supply.
The debate was also broadcast across the show’s websites with a twitter feed providing another route for the power industry to keep in touch. Sackur led the debate with some searching questions, and took questions from the auditorium, as well as working in questions from the online viewers as far afield as South Africa, Singapore, Russia and Australia.
You can register to view the webinar online at http://www.powergeneurope.com/index.html
A poll recently conducted by Renewable Energy World Europe shows that the industry remains divided as to whether the EU can achieve its 20-20-20 targets and generate 20% of its total energy from renewables by 2020. Drawn from some of the world’s largest utility and energy firms, 44% of the experts surveyed believe the EU will fail to meet its targets, while controversially, a further 44% of respondents say that it is too early to tell.
The survey confirmed that continued technical innovation is viewed as the most important factor in the development of renewables in Europe, with over 60% of participants highlighting its importance. Emerging technologies like wave and tidal energy systems have the capacity to rival wind power as a key source for renewable energy, the respondents conclude. For example, the UK’s Carbon Trust estimates that the country could achieve 15% of its electricity needs by harnessing wave power alone. Not surprising then that 56% of participants agreed that wave power will play a significant role in the future of European renewables. However, those surveyed suggest that there could be a fly in the ointment, due to reluctance amongst governments to invest in developing wave power commercially, considering it to be a ‘high risk’ technology.
David Appleyard, conference director for Renewable Energy World Europe, commented: ‘The survey underlines the importance of innovation, yet many of the EU member countries are struggling to meet their targets due to their lack of investment in renewables. There needs to be a greater commitment to the development and installation of renewables across Europe, and with more investment, the EU could smash its 2020 targets.’
The results of the survey were announced ahead of Renewable Energy World Europe 2011, which is being held at Fiera Milano City in Milan, from 7-9 June. Visitors to the event will also be able to access to Europe’s leading energy exhibitions, POWER-GEN Europe 2011, and Nuclear Power Europe 2011, which are co-located with Renewable Energy World Europe. In addition, all three events will be complemented by a comprehensive conference programme, providing participants with a deeper understanding of a wide range of industry issues.