Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WaveHub green light

Not content with getting its funding finalised earlier in the year, the WaveHub has now obtained development consent from BERR (formerly DTI).

Assuming the local surfers who are reportedly unhappy with the project don't derail things, this should mean development should kick off pretty soon. Exciting news for wave developers across the UK!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Alkane Energy pulls out

News from the Yorkshire Post- apparently Alkane Energy pulled an application for development of one of its Coal Mine Methane Energy Parks in Akworth Pit near Pontefract.

Local objectors were concerned that erection of the coal mine methane plant would impact property and amenity values in the area, and Alkane pulled the application shortly before the Council meeting which was expected to reject the plan.

Although Alkane has said that it might reapply in the future, it sounds pretty dead right now.

This is disappointing for a struggling company which is trying to make an honest buck reducing methane emissions to the atmosphere. It's hard to believe that a new small scale power station is somehow worse than a disused coal pit, but the locals clearly have strong views.

WATTS conference - impressions

The WATTS conference seems to have been a success, although the overall vibe is that the wave and tidal industries are only beginning to come to grips with the breadth of challenges faced before commercial scale marine energy farms are in the water.

There's not just technology risk - although there's plenty of that - but also regulatory and consenting risk and difficulties of access to funding.

It's becoming clear that there are stacks of Environmental Impact Assessment and other monitoring and baselining required. The worry is that the costs of all of this will kill off any smaller wave and tidal demonstration and pre-commercial projects which can find the funding. Is this emerging industry being loaded with unnecessary costs at a stage when it really can't afford them?

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's hard to believe the ripping tidal resource in the Solent when it looks like this

I'm crossing the Solent again today, on the way to the REA WATTS (Wave and Tidal Technology Symposium). It's a slightly strained acronym but should be an interesting event.

The Solent was like a millpond, until you saw the tidal stream around buoys and fixed structures.

I'm looking forward to buttonholing the Southampton University guy who put a tidal turbine under Yarmouth Pier. I hope he got good results - wouldn't it be marvellous to see a whole new generation of piers being built to access tidal resources and get people closer to the sea?

More tomorrow, after the conference