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UK gives big wave to hydroelectric future

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Greenbang never rated the UK’s chances as an energy producing nation unless scientists worked out a magic formula involving the UK’s few abundant natural resources – pub banter, the Queen and a cracking curry – into renewable fuel. Fortunately, boffins have rated the UK’s chances as slightly more favourable.

Those analyst types over at Frost and Sullivan have come up with this assessment on the wave question:

Wave energy sources are not only available in plenty, but are also consistent, predictable and have the highest energy density among all renewable energy sources. The best resource is found between 40-60 degrees of latitude where the available resource is 30 to 70 kW/m, with peaks of 100 kW/m. The potential worldwide wave energy contribution to the electricity market is estimated to be of the order of 2,000 TWh/year, about 10% of the world electricity consumption.
The marine energy sector is set to grow faster. However, as it happened for the wind energy, government support, financial investment and technological advancement are needed to see the marine energy sector reach commercialisation.
“Wave energy technology” explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Gouri Nambudripad, “is being developed in a number of countries such as Canada, China, Chile, India, Japan, Russia and the US. However, Europe is leading the way in innovative technologies, pilot projects as well as pushing the existing technologies towards commercialisation including countries such as UK, Ireland, Portugal, Norway and Spain. In tidal energy, Canada, Argentina, Western Australia and Korea possess the resources, but here again Europe is a frontrunner, with the UK and France seemingly promising.”
“The UK – having some of the best wave resource in the world – is targeting 40% of its energy from renewables by 2050 of which 20% is to be sourced from wave and tidal energy,” continues Gouri Nambudripad. “The UK is estimated to possess the capacity to generate approximately 87TWh of wave power annually equivalent to 20-25% of current UK demand. Moreover, the UK has committed GBP 25m since 1999 towards the wave and tidal programme.”

2 Comments

  • Andy
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Hi-the UK is well behind in the rest of Europe when it comes to overall power generated from Renewable Energy-check out these stats:

    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=1073,46870091&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_product_code=EN024

    In 2006, the UK genrated only 4.6% of its electricity from renewable sources as opposed to Germany(10.5%), Italy (14.1%) and the Scandanavians (miles ahead) Sweden(48.2%) and Norway (108.4%). They have invested financially and infrastructurally over the past 20 years and have reaped the rewards. The UK will still be playing catchup in 2050!

    So, you are totally right about it being essential to utilise the potential of our wave power. Whats pretty encouraging to see is that big companies are beginning to offer more beneficial ‘green’ offers to households – i.e. Scottish Hydro Electric’s ‘better plan’ – http://www.hydro.co.uk/ForYourHome/EnergyProducts/betterplan.aspx
    hopefully as schemes like this are rolled out the momentum will build and renewable power generation will become the norm.

  • southsider
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    gallium is a mineral in short supply, and it’s used in all sorts of products, like camera chips, hydrogen producing modules, with aluminum, and thin film cells, better hope we find some more!
    But it is always a byproduct from lead/silver ore.

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