Friday, May 18, 2012

Why aren't we doing this here?

The BBC has an interesting piece on the European Marine Energy Centre, a facility in Orkney used to test wave and tidal turbines against the roughest conditions nature can throw at them. It provides a berth, power cable and bad weather - and technology companies are lining up to use it to test their designs.

Which invites the question: why aren't we doing this sort of thing here? New Zealand's marine energy potential has been estimated at 7000 MW of generation [PDF] - about 70% of our total installed capacity. A purpose built research facility would help exploit that resource, as well as helping build a wave-energy sector as a potential export industry.

If we want to shift our energy generation to more renewable sources, we actually need to do something about it. "Leaving it to the market" (with the odd piddling research grant) simply won't cut it.