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ETIP Ocean publications Technology Research report

Report on infrastructural and industrial production requirements

By Dr Donald R Noble


Image: Centrale Nantes

The ETIP Ocean report on infrastructural and industrial production requirements, authored by the University of Edinburgh, quantifies the potential scale of infrastructure required for ocean energy arrays in Europe over the coming decades, on the premise it follows a similar deployment trajectory to the rapid expansion of wind power.

The report estimates that ocean energy may only need 1% of the port space needed for offshore wind in the early 2030s, but by the end of the decade this could grow to around 13%, or 240 ha. Continued growth in deployment of ocean energy, as seen in wind, would lead to considerably higher requirements by the 2040s, albeit with greater uncertainty.

Planning and delivering strategic national investments in projects such as ports have long lead times. Port upgrades, being planned now or in future, to support more widespread deployment of offshore wind should consider implications of ocean energy deployments, the report suggests.

There are huge infrastructure synergies between offshore wind and ocean energy, however with some divergent needs which can be complementary. A range of smaller or more constrained ports may be suitable for ocean energy that cannot support offshore wind projects.

Planners can harness these opportunities by comprehensively integrating ocean energy into their infrastructure planning for ocean energy. In practice this means:

  • Ensuring offshore wind ports can handle peak requirements in the 2030s and 2040s for offshore wind and ocean energy deployments combined.
  • Ensuring specific offshore wind ports are sufficiently future-proofed so they can be reoriented towards ocean energy’s peak in the 2040s.
  • Systematically exploring whether existing and/or new port space which is unsuitable for wind can be harnessed to facilitate ocean energy.
  • Systematically examining existing smaller ports as potential suppliers for wave and/or tidal energy projects — and provide these ports with the necessary infrastructure to effectively take the strain off larger ports.

Support is also required at a regional, national, and European level to effectively develop suitable infrastructure for offshore renewable energy.

This is an extract, full report available as PDF download

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