The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) has unveiled the first US Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Technology Roadmap that describes the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the MHK industry and outlines a clear and logical path to its commercialisation.
Technologies that capture energy from free-flowing waves, tides and currents represent the potential to provide up to ten percent of US electricity consumption and continue to make advances and gain popularity in coastal communities around the world.
Canada's Ocean Renewable Energy Group (OREG), the Canadian MHK trade group, announced the release of its own industry roadmap at the OREG annual conference in Montreal Tuesday, where the Canada's natural resources minister Joe Oliver, was on hand to receive the first printed copy.
Similar initiatives this Fall have also been annoucned, including:
The ORECCA Offshore Renewable Energy Roadmap (European Union);
The International Energy Agency's Ocean Energy Systems International Vision for Ocean Energy;
3rd phase SuperGen Marine Energy Research Consortium (United Kingdom);
while the Chilean Energy Ministry and the British Embassy in Chile recently commissioned a marine energy strategy for Chile.
OREC's president Sean O'Neill said: "The fact that Canada and the US announced MHK roadmaps on the same date, along with the announcements of additional regional and international MHK roadmaps, underscores the competition and cooperation we're experiencing in this fast growing industry."
He went on to say: "A clean energy future is in everyone's best interest. As North America enters the global competition, we are joining an international race based on common interests in energy security, job growth and economic development, environmental improvements and the reality of finite fossil fuel resources."
Meanwhile, in his comments, Chris Campbell, OREG's Executive Director said: "Canada's strategy is based on existing sales of river current generators, wave and current monitoring equipment worldwide, Alstom's development of a Canadian tidal technology to be the world's first 2 Megawatt system and the strategy we are seeing emerge around tidal opportunities in Nova Scotia."
Bob Thresher of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilitated the development of the US Roadmap. "Countries in Europe produced similar roadmaps as long as ten years ago," he said, adding that "the US Roadmap is a critical step forward in the domestic commercialisation of these technologies.
“Support from the US Department of Energy and colleagues from overseas, including Henry Jeffrey of the University of Edinburgh who has had his hand in just about every Roadmap, worldwide, helped move this along."
University of Edinburgh's Dr. Henry Jeffrey said he was delighted to have been involved in so many of these efforts. "International interest in coherent strategic planning shows how serious these efforts are. There is significant global recognition of the economic and environmental benefits this sector can deliver and the increased system reliability supported by a diverse supply portfolio," he said.
John Huckerby, Chairman of Ocean Energy Systems, the international intergovernmental consortium welcomed the number of national and regional initiatives that complement the international vision just released by OES. "These initiatives highlight the growing recognition of this industry and its potential contributions to energy security, our environment, and our economies."
"Since 2008, the US Government has invested more than $50 million in the MHK sector. This roadmap and continued federal support will help protect these investments and lead to energy independence, a cleaner environment and the potential to export clean energy technology and capture a piece of this global market estimated at over $600 billion (US)," said O'Neill.
The US MHK Roadmap spells out the steps necessary to achieve at least 15 Gigawatts of grid-connected MHK power by 2030 and create up to 36,000 jobs in the process. The Roadmap emphasizes the need for coordinated efforts, continued funding for research, development and deployment activities and support for an environmental study program that would help place vital data into the public domain.
The US Roadmap and Executive Summary are available online: http://www.oceanrenewable.com/roadmap