White Paper Shake-up welcome, but UK now needs to shape-up on technology deployment

As an independent, cross-disciplined UK based R&D platform for new and renewable energy technologies, NaREC has found today's energy white paper rather a mixed bag - and rightly so. The Energy White Paper is very much a positive step forwards in the UK drive for a sustainable energy economy.

Whether Nuclear, wind, or energy-efficiency, a wide ranging energy portfolio must be established in the UK to secure the future of power. We cannot opt for one resource or another in particular and it is reassuring that UK government recognises this. The barriers to deployment for the new, most innovative technologies, must now be overcome to build a strong energy resource infrastructure for our power.

Much has been achieved to date in creating a sustainable energy mix in the UK. We must make the most of remaining fossil fuel resources and nuclear power if considered viable, but renewables offer the stable, reliable and zero carbon characteristics that we need to ensure a truly sustainable long-term future. The innovative technologies available certainly have the potential to allow us to triple renewable energy capacity in the next eight years, but the infrastructure must move quickly to embrace this.

The UK must focus on the offshore renewable technologies which have the potential to play a major role in the energy mix long-term but have a longer route to travel to reach deployment than the more established technologies.
With triple-growth now expected for renewable technologies, the UK must create differential support mechanisms for the more immature renewable technologies like wave and tidal power, and the Energy White Paper is laying the foundations for this. Severn Barrage plans for tidal power must not be confused with typical tidal technologies which use natural tidal streams to harness the sea's power. Whilst the Severn Barrage will have a positive impact on energy targets, the environmental issues need to be addressed before plans go ahead.

Investment should focus on sustainable, environmentally viable tidal technologies which have a lot of potential for UK deployment.
The UK has enormous potential for Offshore renewables and the white paper is indicating that the industry will receive the support mechanisms it needs to become established. Government mechanisms, in particular the Renewables Obligation and the Marine Renewable Development Fund need to focus on what steps the industry needs to reach next to move to large scale deployment. Extending the Renewables Obligation to adopt banding, and making grant conditions and planning processes less restrictive, will have a significant impact on deployment progress in the coming years.

A support framework for marine renewables in the UK is emerging, and needs this continued support from government policy to help make the route to deployment easier for wave and tidal technology developers. As part of this framework, NaREC is delivering small scale prototype support to technology developers who need practical support to overcome the technical barriers to deployment.

On the 8th June, NaREC will launch the first independent prototype tidal testing facility in Europe, completing its unique range of support services for marine renewables. Such technology-focussed near market support will drive the advancement of wave and tidal technologies across Europe, since prototype development is the key stepping stone for developers as they take their concepts to market. Following successful trials at NaREC, developers will be better placed to demonstrate and launch their full scale devices at open sea deployment sites.

The New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) is one of Europe's leading independent facilities for the testing and development of innovative new energy technologies.

Jamie Grimwade, Marine Renewable Technical Specialist at NaREC is keen to make tidal technology a reality in the UK;

"Tidal renewables are well on their way to becoming commercial - the tide is highly predictable and submerged tidal turbine concepts present no visual impact, therefore they are an ideal choice if the UK seeks to mitigate environmental risks but achieve sustainability."

Andrew Mill, CEO at NaREC:

"With pressure mounting on the UK energy industry to secure supplies, stabilise energy prices and find solutions to rising carbon emissions, success depends on the innovation of businesses, technology and community to embrace a more sustainable future. On a commercial level, as the energy industry undergoes rapid evolution, only those who are innovative will emerge as the market leaders. The challenge is to bridge the gap between an innovative idea, and the practical, low cost, commercial solutions that can be created from it. "


High Resolution Photography is available

Editors Notes

NaREC is an independent, cross-disciplined research and development platform serving developers, manufacturers and investors in new and renewable energy worldwide. In partnership with Industry, NaREC is achieving new breakthroughs in the design, deployment and commercialisation of sustainable energy technologies, shaping the future through innovation.

In the move towards sustainability, NaREC works with the power industry to evolve electrical networks and systems to accommodate the changing characteristics of energy resources. Upholding high industry standards for testing and certification, we are dedicated to preserving the integrity of the electrical network through innovation.

Our specialised team of technical and engineering consultants with a wide range of practical experience work to support the development and testing facilities at NaREC, helping to bridge the gap between innovation and realisation.

NaREC's unique world-class facilities offer testing and development of large wind turbine blades, marine renewables, offshore and subsea equipment, micro-renewables and High Voltage electrical equipment. NaREC also has facilities and consultancy expertise for the development and integration of large and small-scale renewables into the energy mix including assistance with small scale embedded generation and power systems analysis. NaREC also runs the UK's only Independent Photovoltaic R&D Laboratory, combining small scale manufacturing and solar cell process development.

The New and Renewable Energy Centre Limited is a self-standing but not for profit organisation (a company limited by guarantee).

For further information please contact:

Louise Harrison
New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC)
Eddie Ferguson House
Ridley Street
NE24 3AG
Direct Dial: 07766 498 068
Email: louise.harrison@narec.co.uk

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