The UK Coalition Government should follow Denmark’s example in the wind industry and ensure a consistent price for marine energy and resolve grid access issues, says wave energy developer Aquamarine Power.
In a report out yesterday, Aquamarine Power argues that a combination of early, clear and consistent price support for wind energy along with favourable grid access has allowed Denmark to create an export wind market worth nearly €6 billion in 2008.
Creating a stable market price for wind energy was a key factor in encouraging early investment and innovation, says the report, The Danish wind industry 1980-2010: lessons for the British marine energy industry.
Although the current situation is much more positive, says the report, the UK’s renewable energy policies lagged around six years behind that of Denmark. Consequently, the UK lost out in economic benefits to Denmark and Germany.
The existing system of Renewable Obligation Certificates, or ROCs, is well understood and offers a clear price signal to investors, says the report, but is inconsistently applied.
In Scotland, wave energy attracts five ROCs per MWh and tidal three, but in the rest of the UK both types of generation only bring two ROCs per MWh.
“The Scottish Government should be commended for putting in place exactly the type of market mechanism which enabled Denmark’s nascent wind industry to grow,” says Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power. “[But] what is needed now is a UK-wide framework of consistent financial support, allied to capital grants, clear consenting procedures, timely grid access and a fair transmission charging regime that does not act as a barrier to marine renewable projects.”
The UK’s marine energy resource and expertise in marine engineering gives the country a natural advantage in the industry, McAdam says, which the country could now capitalise on as Denmark did with wind generation in the 1980s.
Aquamarine Power has developed a wave energy device, the Oyster, for which it is now seeking a major strategic partner to help take it through to commercialisation.
For further information:
US invests $37 million in marine and hydrokinetic energy (13-Sept)
£4m tidal energy contract awarded to Scottish firm (17-Aug)
New wave of investment in UK marine energy sector (2-Aug)
Scottish WATERS hold £13 million in funding for marine energy (7-Jul)
Scotland’s £10 million Saltire Prize for marine energy opens (24-Mar)
UK’s Crown Estate to announce marine power winners (16-Mar)
20 September 2010