Marine renewables in the Atlantic Area
In order to make the transition to a low carbon economy, the uptake of renewable energy technologies needs to be increased across the Atlantic Area (AA), covering the western part of Europe bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Marine renewable energy is the largest untapped renewable energy source, and could provide 10% of Europe’s electricity by 2050, avoiding the emission of 276m tones of CO2 annually. ¹ The AA is the world-leading region for tidal energy, with significant potential for growth, so the MONITOR project is well-placed to support its blue growth and renewable energy targets.
Ocean energy technologies are however still in their infancy, and the cost of pre-commercial testing and demonstration for ocean energy is high with investors generally reluctant to invest until the technology has been proven in the sea at full scale. For this reason, technology has been slow to reach the market. There is also a barrier to growth due to uncertainty in the engineering design, resulting in technology that is too expensive and risky to attract financial investment.
1. Ocean Energy Europe
The MONITOR project is investigating the reliability of tidal energy converters (TECs), using a range of methods and will develop tools to help TEC developers improve device reliability.
The MONITOR project partners will identify critical parameters for blades and support structures and design a monitoring system suitable for Magallanes and Sabella (the two tidal energy developers being used as test subjects in the investigation). The monitoring system will aim to lower engineering safety factors, thus lowering cost while also improving reliability.
A generalised monitoring system will then be developed that can be applied to any TEC design, to de-risk TEC development, improve reliability and increase capacity factor (i.e. power generated as a proportion of theoretical capacity) and lower capital expenditure (CAPEX) and OPEX. This will foster growth of the tidal energy sector.
TEC reliability is a crucial challenge for the tidal energy sector and overcoming it will demonstrate TEC feasibility to investors and public bodies.
The aim of the MONITOR project is to carry out investigations into tidal energy converter (TEC) reliability, using a range of methods to provide better quantification of technical risk to TEC developers and more robust TEC designs.
The key objectives are:
- Reliability: Providing tools and shared learning to developers to improve and optimise reliability of TEC;
- Feasibility: Reduce risk in TEC, thus demonstrating feasibility to investors and public bodies;
- Development: Minimise the time to market in the development phase;
- Cost: Lower the cost TEC development;
- Performance: Contribute to low OPEX and increased performance in the production phase;
- Growth: Develop the tidal energy industry which will help foster growth of renewable energy sector.
The MONITOR project has received funding from the European Union’s Interreg Atlantic Area programme. Four thematic areas have been identified that reflect the choice and needs of the programme partners and stakeholders.
The MONITOR project received funding for priority 2: Fostering resource efficiency.
About Interreg Atlantic Area Programme
Territorial cooperation has been an opportunity for the less dynamic regions to establish connections with more dynamic, innovative and prosperous regions and for the more developed regions to establish exchange networks and cultural, social and economic ties with other territories.
As part of the Regional Policy of the European Union, the Interreg Atlantic Area is a European funding programme that supports transnational cooperation projects, contributing to the achievement of economic, social and territorial cohesion of 36 Atlantic regions.
The primary features drawing the area together are its environmental heritage and maritime dimension, as well as a territorial and urban development common pattern based on a majority of intermediate rural areas and a limited number of large metropolitan areas.
Among other points of convergence of the Atlantic Area, the tradition of cooperation, the existing strong networks between relevant actors and the strong cultural heritage and identity operate as key factors for its joint development.
Interreg Atlantic Area aims, therefore, to achieve significant and tangible progress towards cohesive, sustainable and balanced territorial development of the Atlantic regions and their maritime heritage, promoting solutions to respond to challenges of the actors involved in innovation and competitiveness, resource efficiency, environment and cultural assets, reducing the existing regional disparities.
For more details on the Interreg Atlantic Area programme, go to www.atlanticarea.eu