Growth of Global Wave and Tidal Energy Market Spurred by Demand for Power from Remote Locations

Bolstered by the recent advances, wave and tidal energy technologies are just beginning to reach their capability as potential commercial power sources. While only a few projects currently exist, the technology is fast exhibiting a huge potential for generating power in remote locations where drawing grid connections will neither be cost-effective nor viable. Wave and tidal energy comprises methods of harnessing power from ocean to generate energy. Owing to the abundance of ocean surface and substantial potential of generating energy across many nations, governments are impelled to pursue wind and tidal energy as an important part of the future renewable energy mix.

What factors are responsible for global wave and tidal energy market’s exponential growth?

A recent analysis by Transparency Market Research has revealed the global wave and tidal energy market to surge at 23.2% CAGR between 2016 and 2024. The report has pegged the market to reach US$11.3 bn by 2024 from a valuation of US$497.7 mn in 2014.

Around 200 companies worldwide are either partially or fully involved in the development of the renewable energy sector comprising wave and tidal energy. A majority of these companies are technology developers offering innovative energy converter devices. Since there is no dominant technology in the wave and tidal energy sector, both are considered to reap economies of scale thereby encouraging large-scale deployment of tidal stream power plants.

Currently, the cost of constructing wave and tidal energy power plants is exorbitant. However, vendors operating in the market are expecting major cost reductions in the future as the industry shifts its focus from prototype testing to a widespread deployment phase. Enterprises operating in the market are also expected to achieve economies of scale from the manufacture of energy converter devices and from the construction of on-shore grid connection infrastructure. Furthermore, the power plants will enjoy cost benefits from the sharing of fixed infrastructure. This will subsequently contribute towards the reduction of tariffs on electricity generation. These are the primary factors aiding the expansion of wave and tidal energy market.

What are the latest projects promising favorable prospects for global wave and tidal energy market?

Strong tidal currents have challenged sailors in the Pentland Firth, a strait that separates Northern Scotland from the Orkney Islands, for centuries. Some of this incredible marine energy is now being utilized through a project called MeyGen. In the summer of 2015, the Atlantic Group had begun the construction of submerged tidal turbines consisting of four three-bladed and seabed-mounted turbines. These turbines are expected to deliver 6 MW to grid by 2016 and power almost 3000 homes in Scotland. Furthermore, Atlantis intends to build 269 turbines capable of generating  over 398 MWs of electricity in the firth by the early 2020s, thus providing power to roughly 200,000 homes. 

Besides this, Oregon-based Northwest Energy Innovations has installed a wave energy conversion device off the coast of Hawaii in June 2015. The turbine has the capacity of extracting power from the horizontal and vertical motions of waves using high-pressure hydraulics. Furthermore, a 45-ton apparatus called Azura has been built in a test facility of the U.S. Navy located off the Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. This is a small experimental device exhibiting a capacity of only 50 KWs. Azura, however, is the first and the only grid-connected wave energy system in the U.S.

Globally, the construction of power plants to capture wind and tidal energy has been increasing at a robust pace. Such rapid proliferation of wave and tidal energy projects will prove lucrative for the market’s future.


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