According to a March 2023 report from IRENA (the International Renewable Energy Agency), ocean energy is one of the technologies that must be scaled up for the energy system to reach full decarbonisation. With a global market potential of 350 gigawatts by 2050, ocean energy can provide clean, local and predictable electricity to coastal countries and island communities around the world.
In particular, the IRENA report emphasizes the need to scale up investments in tidal stream and wave technologies, as these ocean energy technologies are closest to reaching maturity, have greater application potential globally and are more suitable for scalability.
Featured within IRENA's 2023 report are current global deployment examples and pilot projects by wave and tidal stream innovators, such as Corpower Ocean, Minesto, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd, Mocean Energy, Nova Innovation, Magallanes Renovables, SIMEC Atlantis Energy, CalWave Power Technologies and Havkraft.
"Tidal stream is now at pilot farm stage" the report states, "the first multi-device arrays have been producing power for the past 6 years. Further full-scale devices have been demonstrated in real sea conditions and are ready to be deployed in the next wave of pilot farms. Wave energy is now at prototype stage, with several scaled and full-scale devices being tested in real sea conditions. After the successful completion of those projects, the next step will be the deployment of the first wave energy pilot farms".
Given that ocean energy is poised to form a key element of the global energy system's decarbonisation target, it is unsurprising to see that a number of ocean energy innovators will be attending COP28 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year.
Minesto - whose tidal kite generates electricity from tidal streams and ocean currents by a unique and patented principle - will (for the second time) be part of the official Swedish business delegation to COP28.
And joining the Scottish delegation in UAE are wave energy company Mocean; environmental services and products business Aquatera; Nova Innovation, which provides solutions for tidal energy, floating solar and marine energy systems; and tidal turbine business Orbital Marine Power.
The Middle East region itself has a growing interest in exploring the potential of wave energy, according to Norwegian company Havkraft AS, which is working to develop wave energy projects in Oman based on its oscillating water column (OWC) technology.
Given the above, we look forward to seeing how ocean energy innovation, including wave energy and tidal streams, will feed into the outcomes of COP28.
Ocean energy can complement wind and solar power, bringing much-needed flexibility to the grid and securing the energy supply. Tidal stream technologies capture power from tidal currents and are influenced by the established cycles of the moon, sun and Earth, allowing greater predictability. Wave energy is complementary to wind energy; when the wind stops, wave energy continues to produce power (IRENA, 2021).
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