Memorandum submitted by the European Commission
The European Commission services limit their
contribution to three questions. The other questions being peculiar
to United Kingdom we cannot answer on behalf of the European Commission.
The White paper for a Community Strategy and
Action plan "Energy for the future: Renewables Sources of
Energy" indicates in the paragraph related to Other Renewable
Technologies that: "There are a number of other renewable
energy technologies, such as solar thermal power, tidal power,
ocean currents, wave power, hot dry rock, ocean thermal energy
conversion, for which the current market in the EU is non-existent.
Projections are difficult to make, but some of these technologies
will undoubtedly offer significant potential in the future. It
is reasonable to expect that at least one of the renewable sources
will have started to be exploited commercially over the coming
decade or so, which justifies assuming a marginal contribution
of 1gW by 2010."
That what concern the three specific questions:
The wave technology could be shoreline, near
shore and offshore devices. The most advanced technology is "on-shore"
principally the one exploiting the OWC (oscillating water column)
system. In Europe, two pilot plants (LIMPET, PICO) using this
principle have been built and are now being tested. It seems reasonable
to expect positive results regarding the viability of this specific
technology in a short term.
The tidal technology could be near shore and
offshore devices. It is until now limited to the exploitation
of marine currents. Only one pilot has been built near shore (SEAFLOW)
but not yet installed near shore.
Research and development
Under the 4 Framework Programme, five research
projects are currently underway and progressing well. Those projects
include the three pilot plants mentioned before. Prototypes are
under operation. From the 1st call of the 5 Framework Programme
(ENERGIE) one Thematic Network has been contracted and is now
acting. The outcome of the various actions, both in term of scientific
and technical results in term of exploitation, will be crucial
to decide the next steps for this energy source. The objective
of the EU is to establish through present and future projects,
a reliable baseline on some critical points, such as investment
costs, production cost, operation performance, survivability,
reliability environment impact and socio-economic data.
Some EU MS states are very active in the wave
technology. These countries are at present Denmark, Greece, Italy,
Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The efforts
are supported by public and by private funds. In addition of the
EU programme "ENERGIE" some of them also have a national
programme. Outside the EU, Norway, the USA and Japan are also
actives but the EU countries seem to remain leaders of Wave technology
in the industrial and in the research sectors.