Catapult and Frazer Nash develop new approach to reduce wave and tidal energy project risks

Published 7 July 2015

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Frazer-Nash Consultancy have produced a standardised approach to assessing and reducing uncertainty associated with energy yield assessment for wave and tidal energy projects. This approach will ultimately help to reduce risk and make projects more attractive to investors.

Until now, there has been no standardised methodology or common terminology for energy yield and uncertainty assessments. The outputs from this project are a major step forward in addressing these issues and will bring substantial industry benefits, including:

  • Increased understanding amongst project developers of the uncertainties (and therefore risks) associated with projects to help them prioritise uncertainty-reducing activities.
  • Helping project financiers to understand the importance and potential scale of uncertainties and inform discussions on financial risk.
  • Enabling researchers to prioritise research activities to help reduce these risks.

Ralph Torr, Renewable Technology Engineer for ORE Catapult, said:

“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 optimised project design and reducing the costs of financing. This project provides a common language and a standardised approach to assessing and reducing uncertainty.”

Neil Adams, Group Leader at Frazer-Nash, said:

“We’ve worked extensively with the ORE Catapult, industry and academia on this programme.”

“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 decide where to invest their capital.”

The three guidance documents and the uncertainty management tool can be accessed on ORE Catapult’s website here.


Notes for editors

Measuring energy yields in the wind and marine energy industries

In the wind industry, processes for measuring energy yields are fairly mature, and investors use these estimates to assess the risks associated with investing in wind farm projects. By minimising these risks, project developers can attract investors, improving their own return on investment.

In the marine energy industry, this process is far less mature. There are no commercial-scale marine energy projects in operation, so there is no operational experience on which to base these estimates. Numerical models also lack full-scale validation for the same reason. As a result, the uncertainties assigned can be very large, potentially making marine energy projects appear unattractive to investors.