Recently the Swedish Energy Agency released their strategy for ocean energy with a focus on how to develop it, as well as how to encourage and support current Swedish developers. OffshoreVäst has summarized it and a translation in English can be found below.
The Swedish Energy Agency highlights several positive things about ocean energy:
- It is a great but untapped source of energy, however, it comes with a clear geographical division
- Fairly even energy production, ocean energy can also give positive effects in the electric system
- Can be built at remote locations where you won’t have to look at it
- Possible positive environmental effects (especially wave power) in the form of coral reefs and marine life.
Swedish innovations can make a difference:
- Sweden has successful researchers and companies in the sector, in some cases even world leading
- There is a strong competence within complementary fields (for example energy, manufacturing and the offshore industry)
- An increasing amount of cooperation between developers
Furthermore, the Swedish Energy Agency writes that even though ocean energy in its current form is more expensive than both wind and solar energy, the prices are likely to become reduced as the amount of installed effect increases. Also, Sweden is one of only a handful of nations that already has larger installments of ocean energy technique according to sources (Ocean Energy Forum, Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap, November 2016, IEA OES, Annual Report Ocean Energy Systems 2016).
In a potential future value chain, the agency presents several members of OffshoreVäst, our host organization RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) as well as Test site Skagerrak, a test site which we together with our partners are currently developing.
The strategy also holds some information regarding what needs to be done according to the people in its very center – the industry:
- Launch demo projects in order to learn more before the possible commercialization starts
- Validation of components and part systems
- Increase the energy conversion with an improved PTO (Power take off) where mechanical energy is transformed into electric energy
- Control system for increased reliability and survivability
- Reduce uncertainty, risks and costs for fundaments, anchoring systems and cables
- Build investment propensity, including LCOE analysis
- Technology development through validated numerical models and small scale prototypes
- Develop sea serviceable material of high quality
- Permission surveillance system in order to optimize operation and maintenance
- Access to ocean energy sites, custom designed process and vessels
- Standards, health, safety and environment
- Develop manufacturing expertise for ocean energy (source: Strategic Research Agenda for Ocean Energy, November 2016, Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap, November 2016)
Swedish perspective (voices from Havsenergiforum)
- Developers, researchers and others (consults, agencies etc.) should divide funds between different research areas as well as national versus international programs
- Generally, most people thought the focus for R&D and industry should be on industrial research and experimental development
- Reliability and components were especially prioritized, however, at a later research level
- Tools development and electrical systems were especially downgraded as far as priority goes, at an early research stage at least
- Funds for national programs were prioritized by all
- A Test site was also prioritized
The Swedish Energy Agency will now follow up on this information and act in some way, possibly by updating the strategy for ocean energy and/or the program “Marin energiomvandling” (Marine energy conversion) which started in January 2015 and will last until the end of 2018.