Organization Society News

Ocean Energy Technology Committee Report

Seamus Garvey, Rupp Carriveau and Mal Heron


Seamus Garvey, right, and Rupp Carriveau are
co-chairs of the OES Ocean Energy
Technology Committee.

The Ocean Energy TC supported the 5th International Conference on Offshore Energy and Storage in Ningbo, China, 4–7 July 2018, in partnership with the Offshore Energy and Storage Society. Ningbo has a deep-water port and carries the biggest tonnage on China’s coast. This, combined with the research of our hosts, The University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China, made it an attractive location. The theme was “The New Ambition for Offshore Energy” with an emphasis on Renewable Systems.
Over recent years we have seen development of a wide range of concepts for offshore energy generation with clear cohesion happening for offshore wind power. At the conference we saw a clear direction by UK and Denmark in the North Sea with fixed foundation wind farms in shallow water (up to about 50 m) producing significant energy into the grid. China is developing its offshore energy ambitions rapidly and talks at the conference indicated that within a few years it will overtake the UK and Germany to become the biggest collector of offshore renewable energy. The bulk of its population (like most countries) is close to the shore and conditions of the sea and seabed vary dramatically along this coast.
There was lively discussion about the future of floating platform wind farms for water depths in the range 20–200 m with some predicting that the floating systems will dominate the industry during the next decade. It was clear that offshore wind energy generation has become a mature industrial force. Other generation sources including waves, tidal elevation, tidal streaming, PV arrays, salinity gradients, and thermal gradients are still developing in silos with cohesion yet to emerge. A keynote speech on airborne wind systems by Joseph Coleman from Limerick made it clear that major disruptions in offshore energy are still possible.
Energy storage was the hottest topic attracting about half of the papers. This area is also early in development with a wide range of options being researched and piloted. The impetus for this area of development is being driven by the need to provide a stable feed into the grid as the uptake of renewable energy meets an increasing fraction of the supply—for both onshore and offshore.
This meeting was a fine example of one of the strategic directions of OES: it had one stream, arising from one of the Technology Committees, with a good partner society and host institution.