The marine energy industry is advancing from early-stage research and development towards large scale deployments and commercialization. Many US participants have been active in the industry for over a decade and have learned some hard-fought lessons. This study sought to capture these lessons and ensure that knowledge is not lost, past mistakes are avoided, and successes are capitalized on.
U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory staff conducted a series of interviews with marine energy experts, including device developers, researchers, test center operators, and consultants, as part of the PRIMRE* project. The interviews were semi-structured, with a set of questions provided ahead of time, and conducted in accordance with Human Subjects research guidelines to protect participants’ anonymity. Each interview was informal and followed different paths, driven by the participants’ interests and experience in the marine energy field.
Overall, the lessons learned, challenges, and successes identified during the interviews fit into 17 themes that span the entire marine energy development lifecycle, from developing key concepts and effective business plans, to identifying and procuring funding, securing services from the supply chain, and satisfying environmental permitting requirements. Many of the themes showed strong correlation to one another; for example, issues around maintaining funding streams related strongly to business planning, and information associated with foundations and anchors related strongly to the overall design-build-test experience. After analyzing the information within each theme and the connections among themes, the PRIMRE team developed recommendations for further research. The PRIMRE team is also examining ways in which the outcomes can assist the U.S. Department of Energy in support of the industry.
This presentation will describe the project’s motivation and goals, outline the methods for data collection and analysis, and present the findings to date. The project’s outcomes should be of interest to all marine energy stakeholders as the industry moves forward.
*The U.S. Portal and Repository for Information on Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMRE) is a centralized system that brings together all U.S. marine energy data and information, with the goal of improving discoverability and accessibility. Sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, PRIMRE has been developed and implemented by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.