Marine energy project risk reduction tool released

The UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult technology research centre and consultancy Frazer-Nash have announced the results of a collaboration aimed at standardizing energy yield and risk reduction assessment for wave and tidal power projects.

Until now, the ORE said, there has been no standardized methodology or common terminology for assessing the potential energy yield and uncertainty associated with ocean energy project development. Having such a framework in place will help reduce risk and make projects more attractive to investors, the ORE said.

Among the industry benefits promised are increased understanding of the uncertainties (and therefore the risks) involved in projects, which will help developers prioritize risk-reducing activities; increased understanding of the importance and potential scale of uncertainties for project financiers; and increased ability to prioritize research activities to help reduce risk.

The Marine Energy Yield Uncertainty Analysis and Reporting Tool (or the Uncertainty Management Tool) allows users to assign an ‘uncertainty value’ to aspects of a project such as site measurements (taking into account instrument accuracy, measurement interference and data quality), long-term resource frequency at the project site (historic resource estimation, future resource projection, climate change impact), and plant and performance losses (due to decreased availability, resource-array interactions, energy converter performance, electrical losses, performance degradation and curtailment), among others.

According to Ralph Torr, ORE Renewable Technology Engineer, “The perceived level of risk associated with wave and tidal energy projects is high. Being able to more accurately determine the energy output of a potential wave or tidal energy project is a key part of reducing this risk and is central to optimized project design and reducing the costs of financing. This project provides a common language and a standardized approach to assessing and reducing uncertainty.”

Neil Adams, Group Leader at Frazer-Nash, said: “We have developed a structured guidance document and intuitive tool to determine the uncertainty on energy yield simply and systematically. It helps identify key uncertainties and allows projects to be compared on a like-for-like basis. This will assist project developers and financiers to decide where to invest their capital.”

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