The government of Scotland is looking to boost the country’s still-nascent wave energy industry via the creation of a new organization dedicated to just such a purpose, according to recent reports.
Ironically, reports of this development surfaced shortly after the Edinburgh-based developer Pelamis went into administration.
Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing revealed the plans to create “Wave Energy Scotland” over the weekend, noting that it was designed to aid engineers and academics in collaborative research and development efforts — efforts seeking to accelerate technological improvements in the wave energy industry, of course.
The move seeks to address some of the issues the industry has faced in recent years — such as the recent failure of Pelamis to secure funding for the next development stage of its technology. E.ON reportedly pulled out of its partnership with Pelamis owing to “slow development of the technology.”
During the recent announcement of the new organization, Scotland’s government noted the presence of difficulties such as these, noting that this reality was unsurprising as investors were likely to be hesitant owing to the “uncertainty” created by the Electricity Market Reforms being pushed by Westminster.
While these issues exist, the time is ripe for developing and deploying the technology, according to the Scottish Government.
“Now is the right time to consider the future of our support for wave energy in Scotland,” stated Ewing. “This is a young industry and we still have a lot of learning to do in marine renewables. We want to encourage further innovation in wave energy development and we recognize the need for a bold new approach to supporting this emerging technology.”
Ewing also noted that “there is… a lack of design convergence in wave energy with many different concepts in development, while tidal appears to be converging on a front-runner design.”
While wave energy certainly seems to have some potential (and a fair amount of hype), it’s hard to say if it will prove to have a real place in the world’s energy mix. Solar and wind energy are quite well proven — and much cheaper as well — so the necessity for wave energy doesn’t quite seem to be there when you consider the obstacles. Still, it appears Scotland is making a bet that it will prove a worthwhile avenue to explore.
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