The technologically recoverable natural resource presented by wave and tidal energy could be a long-term global business opportunity for European industry worth at least £600 billion, according to Benoit Dal Ferro, of energy analysts Douglas-Westwood, speaking in a keynote address to the 2nd French-British seminar on Marine Renewable Energy in Le Havre, France. Dal Ferro highlighted the different elements which suggest the need to carefully consider the potential for wave & tidal technology: “The prospects of an entirely new industry with the associated job creation means wave & tidal power is becoming hot on the agenda with some experimental devices already in the water and prospects for significant cost reduction.
“However, security of supply is probably the most important consideration,” said Dal Ferro. “For the past three years Douglas-Westwood has been warning over the considerable threat that Europe faces over its growing dependence on Russian gas for power generation – particularly significant in the light of recent events. Development of the infinitely renewable wave & tidal power resource should play a part in Europe’s response.”
Drawing from Douglas-Westwood’s World Wave & Tidal Database of future projects, information on over 60 device manufacturers around the world and the firm’s extensive research on the renewable energy resource, he stated that, “whilst it is too early to predict the long-term economics of wave and tidal power generation, Europe has access to a major natural resource and excellent technology which may soon deliver commercially viable electricity supplies.”
Making the link between the uncertainties regarding existing knowledge about the resource, technology and the economical aspects of the opportunity, he concluded: “In such a commercially new and uncertain area the only thing to be certain of is that, by whatever dimension you may analyse the opportunity, this is too big for any one country and needs a full-scale engagement at European level. By ignoring this need, we may expose ourselves to the increasing dominance of American and Chinese technology programmes.”