In recognition of an increased global demand for clean and renewable power, the marine energy sector has recently seen increasing activity. With the successful deployment of several landmark tidal current and ocean wave devices in Europe, the immense potential of this field is poised to enter a new phase.
Large-scale grid-connected ocean power plants, consisting of modular energy conversion units, are the essence of such schemes. However, significant technological and knowledge barriers need to be overcome before ocean power devices can be deployed for commercial power generation.
At present very few utilities recognise this emerging marine renewable power in their longer-term portfolio. As marine renewable energy may not make any significant contribution within next 10 years, no specific grid-integration activities related to marine renewables are underway. The IEA-OES Executive Committee approved an Annex (Annex III) in 2007 with an overall aim: to provide a forum for information exchange and co-operative research related to the short-term and long-term integration of ocean energy into electrical systems. The Annex consisted of three work packages and co-ordination with other relevant initiatives within IEA.
This report presents the work carried out through Work Package 1 of the Annex. It focuses on identifying (in comparison to wind energy) any potential differences and opportunities associated with integrating wave and tidal current energy plants into electrical grids. The report presents the characteristics of some wave and tidal current energy conversion processes and identifies areas where ocean energy technologies bear unique advantages in comparison with wind energy technologies. The report also discusses how the experience gained from the wind energy industry could be used to mitigate any future grid integration challenges associated with large-scale implementation of ocean energy technologies.....