The government will today be called on to increase its support for wave and tidal power in a new report from MPs warning the UK is at risk of repeating mistakes which allowed the country to lose its early lead in the developing wind power industry.
MPs on the Commons' Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) on Monday released a report on the future of marine renewables, which will claim the UK could become a leading exporter of wave and tidal power equipment and expertise if the government adopts a more visionary approach to developing marine energy.
Oh that’ll work well then. As my one reader will recall, (Hi Mrs FE) the author of this poorly written blog was a marine engineer for some 43 years. I know from bitter experience how corrosive sea water is. Many a time I’ve been called to fix a salt water leak from a corroded pipe. Especially when you are at the North of Norway in the middle of winter and it’s at two in the morning.
I envisage that these turbines will be vastly more costly than above water wind turbines.
1) Wind turbines only have to be weather-proof. Submersed turbines have to be waterproof to the depth they are subjected to. What are the materials to be used in the manufacture? What paint coating will they use to protect against marine growth? After all they would be foolish to use a cheap coating. It’s somewhat difficult to re-paint underwater.
2) You have to place and secure them underwater. Somewhat expensive in my mind. You’ll need divers and submersibles for that.
3) Ditto connection of cables.
4) Maintenance. This always seems to be left out of the equation when these schemes are floated in front of our lords and masters. How do you change a gearbox bearing underwater? In fact how due you change the oil in the gearbox?
5) has anyone assessed a failure rate and what to do when one or more fail? Considering that seaborne wind turbines appear to have an effective life of eight years rather than the twenty touted by the industry.
6) The one in the picture above is designed to swivel. How long before the swivel bearing seizes due to salt water seepage.
Anything I’ve forgotten?
You get my point I hope.
The reason why I wrote this post is the “My dick is bigger than your dick” mentality by our politicians when it concerns being “Green”.
But the report warns that an overly cautious approach to deployment may allow other less risk-averse countries to steal the UK's lead.
The ECC report will issue a series of recommendations designed to ensure the UK retains its leading position, including clarifying how much revenue support marine power can expect to receive beyond 2017 as soon as possible.
"Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy," said committee chairman Tim Yeo. "We are extremely well placed to lead the world in wave and tidal technologies, which could potentially bring significant benefits in manufacturing and jobs, as well an abundant supply of reliable low-carbon electricity."
The question I’d like to put to Tim Yeo (I refuse to call him honourable. MPs’ lost that honorific due to the expenses scandal), why do you want to destroy the UK’s competiveness by hiking up energy prices to obscene levels?
Dear reader (Bugger, Mrs FE has gone to bed), what would you prefer? A cheap energy source supplying your needs, or one that threatens you to a life of fuel poverty and rolling blackouts. I know which one I prefer.