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OCEAN Sustainable Energy Systems TC
-The 2019 Offshore Energy Storage Symposium
Reported by Seamus Garvey, Chair Ocean Sustainable Energy Systems Technology Committee.
One of the topical pillars of the Ocean Sustainable Energy Systems (OSES) Technology Committee is energy storage. Energy storage is emerging as the most immediate problem for renewable energy and the 2019 Offshore Energy Storage Symposium squarely addressed this.
OSES2019 retained all of the magic of its predecessors. The conference series is unique in its combination of topics addressing how to capture renewable energy ever more effectively from the vast resources available offshore and how to enable that energy to be most useful as it comes ashore. OSES2019 was also replete with contributions around how to construct business cases such that full systems embracing both the harvesting and the dispatchability can be realised in the near future.
The OSES conferences were sparked-off initially by a recognition occurring simultaneously in several places that retaining pressurised air underwater could be a highly effective way of storing energy. This conference series has been the natural home for this thinking since 2014 and this year, at least 8 papers addressed this topic further.
Desalination is also emerging as a consistent theme since the energy service (potable water) is extremely cheap and straightforward to store and to transport (it floats on seawater). There are obvious and considerable advantages of driving reverse osmosis directly from wind, wave and tidal sources rather than making electricity first and then doing transmission and conversion separately.
Wave energy featured strongly also, led by an excellent keynote overview from Prof. Gregorio Iglesias of University College Cork with several other papers introducing new ideas for integrating wave energy converters with shoreline protection and integrating wave energy with wind generation.
Prof. Yann-Herve de Roeck of France Energies Marine set the local context of marine energy in France – ranging from the tidal barrage at La Rance to the new floating wind farms planned in five locations.
Prof. Daniel Laird from NREL brought the USA perspective to OSES2019 with his keynote. Notwithstanding the nominal withdrawal of USA from COP21, Daniel reassured the conference that renewable was fit and well in the USA – and developing very rapidly. One of Daniel’s charts (below) showed the consistent propensity of institutions to underestimate what wind energy would do in the future. This chart should give heart to all who work in the field of renewable energy.
The closing session of OSES2019 addressed “Getting the message across,” which was led by the TC co-chairs, Rupp Carriveau (University of Windsor) and Seamus Garvey (University of Nottingham). Whilst the technical progress in offshore energy continues with impressive resolve, the session uncovered that there are strong indicators that the policy-makers continue to underestimate the future importance of the connection between the collection and the local storage of energy. The OSES conferences have a big job ahead of them to influence this.