John Huckerby, Former Chairman of OES and Director at Power Projects Limited (USA/New-Zealand) DESCRIBES THE fifth and last THEME OF THE CALL FOR PAPERS.
COULD YOU BRIEFLY EXPLAIN WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THIS THEME?
Without doubt the biggest challenge faced by developers of ocean energy devices is being able to operate and maintaining energy generating equipment at sea. The objective of this session is to review practical experiences by developers and solutions developed to enable marine energy devices to operate safely, reliably and with minimum requirements for operator intervention.
What are the Issues and Challenges?
Wave and tidal energy developers face similar and contrasting issues. Wave energy converters may have challenges with station-keeping, adjusting to highly variable and difficult-to-predict wave climates, whilst floating devices will need moorings, which cause minimal energy losses to the device. Tidal energy converters benefit from more predictable tidal conditions but these conditions may be brief within each tidal cycle, limiting access for installation, maintenance and removal (IMR). Being largely, if not wholly, submarine tidal energy devices may suffer reduced exposure to severe weather conditions. However, all wave and tidal energy devices will require access for IMR. Modularity and redundancy may ameliorate some of these problems. Devices must be robust enough to deal with extremes of weather, whilst being able to withstand or accommodate seawater corrosion and bio-fouling problems. Whilst both wave and tidal energy devices may be located at high-energy sites, where there are likely to be few competing uses, they must still be able to demonstrate minimal environmental effects to maintain their potential advantage over other energy technologies.
Ocean thermal energy conversion devices, which may be land-, ship- or barge-based, will still have to deal with issues of water chemistry and their output of exotic, brackish water.
All ocean energy project developers must meet the requirements of environmental permit and consent regulators and it will be important to maintain marine energy’s ‘social contract’ to operate. Operational practices, results and outcomes will influence insurance companies’ willingness to underwrite ocean energy projects and regulators to permit them.
What are your Expectations?
The speakers at the conference will demonstrate the range of practical problems and experiences in addressing performance, robustness, reliability and ease of maintenance of a range of marine energy converters. They will address issues of minimizing or eliminating environmental effects and show their solutions for station-keeping, installation, operations and maintenance. Project developers will discuss challenges and solutions to meeting environmental obligations and securing insurance for their deployments.