Tidal Stream, Wave Power Outlook Falters

August 15, 2014 By Kirsten Korosec

wave-power-shutterstockMarine renewable technologies are taking longer than hoped to scale up, largely due to project setbacks, the difficultly of deploying tidal stream and wave power devices and fatigue among venture capital investors, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Tidal stream and wave power installations will grow to 148 megawatts and 21 megawatts by the end of the decade from almost nothing today, according to the research. The BNEF growth projections have been revised downwards 11 percent for tidal stream and 72 percent for wave power deployment.

In the past 12 months, a number of wave power companies have failed, including Oceanlinx and Wavebob. Others have scaled back such as Wavegen, which was folded back into parent company Voith. AWS Ocean Energy has also scaled back its activities, according to BNEF.

Other wave firms have pressed on. Much of the interest in tidal energy in the US is based in Alaska.

The outlook for tidal stream technology companies is brighter with Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and Alstom/TGL both earning Renewable Obligation Certificates for electricity generated from devices at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland.

Still, the amount of marine energy capacity that has been installed and generated consistently for a number of years is tiny, particularly in relation to the world’s power system.

In April, US Department of Energy said it would offer$4 million to research universities to accelerate marine and hydrokinetic energy development in the United States. The funding will support projects designed to enable the capture of renewable wave and tidal energy.

In February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a successive preliminary permit 240-MW tidal energy project in Alaska.

 Image: Shutterstock


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