An £8m project that will produce tools capable of accurately estimating the energy yield of major wave- and tidal-stream energy has been approved by the Energy Technologies Institute.
Performance Assessment of Wave and Tidal Array Systems (PerAWaT), a project led by Garrad Hassan, and including EDF Energy, EON, Edinburgh University, Oxford University, Queen’s University Belfast and Manchester University will develop a series of models to predict the performance of wave- and tidal-stream generator arrays.
According to the ETI, there is currently no software package or validated method of estimating the average annual energy production of a wave- or tidal-stream energy farm.
Dr David Clarke, ETI chief executive, said: ‘Although the UK has huge marine potential, investment is being held back by uncertainty about the overall costs involved and the potential returns on investment in wave and tidal technologies.’
‘This project will deliver greatly improved modelling tools to provide more accurate forecasting of energy yields and reduce the uncertainty and investment risk faced by project developers when planning large-scale wave- and tidal-energy schemes.
‘It will build on existing knowledge to accelerate the development of sophisticated tools that will become essential as the marine-energy industry matures.’
He added: ‘No single company or university would be capable of doing this work alone and the ETI has played a key role in bringing together a consortium of experts to deliver this critical work. It is an important step to unlocking the considerable potential of marine energy.’
Dr Robert Rawlinson-Smith, Garrad Hassan Marine Renewables group leader, added: ‘Deployment of large-scale arrays of marine-energy conversion devices will only occur when project developers have sufficient confidence in the return on their investment.
‘The ETI core objective of accelerating the commercial deployment of energy technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions will be addressed by this project as it will both establish and validate numerical models capable of predicting the performance of wave- and tidal-energy converters (WECs and TECs) when operating in arrays.’
He added: ‘Once established, the models will enhance levels of confidence in the design of WEC and TEC arrays, and therefore accelerate their large-scale deployment. By accelerating deployment rates, the project will directly address the ETI Marine Programme outcome goal of increasing deployment to 2GW by 2020 and 30GW by 2050.’