In March 2012 the second PECC seminar on “oceans as a source of renewable energy” took place in Hawaii, USA. The seminar focused on the development of new technologies for the efficient use of marine energy (including OTEC, tidal and wave energy), the means to increase the use of marine energy and the role of marine energy
in future cities. In particular the use of OTEC seems to be useful for dense urban centers.
An issue highlighted by the experts is the fact that the market is far from being structured. There are currently hundreds of patents that exist on marine energy technology but there is a relative lack of transparency. The question is who will set the norms and standards to be recognized globally. It is important to ensure that the technologies that are adopted by the market also address issues of environmental protection of the oceans.
Technologies are available but the biggest challenge is the commercialization of these innovations. “Governmental ‘willpower’ or a concerted effort from multiple stakeholders are likely necessary to move forward”, according to Gerard C. Nihous, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii. The market by itself will not be enough to facilitate further development of marine energy; it would require all stakeholders to undertake concerted efforts.
The development of “clusters” receiving state support as a form of “startup” in financial, technical, and legal aspects, was perceived desirable, as well as the backing of SMEs by major corporations. During the seminar, a few examples of “clusters”, such as NELHA, clustering marine technologies were presented to emphasize its importance for the development of marine energy.
The presentations made at the seminar in Hawaii are available for download on the PECC website.
On December 4 and 5, Auckland, New Zealand will be the theatre of the concluding PECC seminar: Seminar 3