The summary in this section was provided by John Huckerby, Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association
Although there has not been a high level of public activity this year, the year was notable for three reasons:
The first full deployment of Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand’s ½-scale ‘MEDF’ device at Moa Point in Wellington (27 May – 17 June 2012)
The first full deployment of Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand’s ½-scale ‘US’ device at the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre’s test site of Yaquina Head, Oregon (23 August – 5 October 2012)
The award of a NZ$ 940,000 grant over 3 years from the Marsden Fund to Dr. Ross Vennell of Otago University for tidal energy research
Ocean Energy Policy
Strategy and National Targets
The current Government introduced its NZ Energy Strategy in August 2011, which has an aspirational target of 90% renewable energy generation by 2025, supported by the National Policy Statement on Renewable Electricity Generation, which came into effect in May 2011. The Government has also set a greenhouse emissions reductions target to reduce emissions by 50% from 1990 levels by 2050. Although the NZ Government was a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, it has recently announced that it will not sign up to a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.
There are no market stimulation incentives or other support for renewables, including marine energy.
Main Public Funding Mechanisms
The 4-year Marine Energy Deployment Fund (2008 - 2011) funded six deployment projects, of which 4 were wave projects and 2 were tidal current projects. Three of the projects are still active and eligible to receive funds.
Apart from MEDF, principal public funding is for R&D through either direct Government funding or other public funding sources. Two Government-funded R&D projects ended in September 2012 but subsequently Dr. Ross Vennell at Otago University was awarded $940,000 from the Marsden Fund to research tidal array
capacity and arrangements.
Relevant Legislation and Regulation
Consents to undertake marine energy projects in the Coastal Marine Area (to the 12 nautical mile limit) are granted under the Resource Management Act 1991 and its amendments. This is environmental legislation.
There is no allocation regime for marine energy.
The first marine energy consents in New Zealand were activated by WET-NZ in May 2012.
However, there have been some changes to consenting practices in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (beyond the 12 nautical mile limit) during 2012.The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (the EEZ Act) became law on 3 September 2012. The EEZ Act will come into force when the regulations are in place or no later than 1 July 2014. These new regulations specifically cover new uses of the ocean, not covered by existing environmental legislation. However, the new regulations are unlikely to affect marine energy projects in the near future, as projects are likely to be closer to shore. There have been no other significant updates to legislation or regulation during 2012.
Research & Development
Government Funded R&D
The principal Government funding has been to a collaborative R&D research programme called Wave Energy Technology – New Zealand (WET-NZ), collaboration between Industrial Research Limited (IRL) and Power Projects Limited (PPL). A ½-scale device 20 kWp, called the MEDF device (named after the fund, which enabled its fabrication and deployment), was deployed off Moa Point, Wellington, New Zealand (Figure 1a) in May – June 2012 (after a 3-month trial off Akaroa Heads in late 2011). Due to problems with the moorings the device was removed after 3 weeks and analysis is being completed to redesign the moorings for redeployment in 2013.
FIGURE 1: a) WET-NZ’s MEDF device off Akaroa Heads (2011) and b) its US device at the NNMREC test site, Oregon
Participation in Collaborative International Projects
In 2010, WET-NZ, together with US project manager, Northwest Energy Innovations, was awarded a grant
from US Department of Energy to build and deploy a 2nd generation ½-scale 20 kWp device in Oregon
(Figure 1b). The US device was assembled in Newport, Oregon, in August 2012 and deployed at the
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre’s test site off Newport, Oregon for six weeks from 23 August to 5 October.
In April 2012, the Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association (AWATEA) hosted its 6th Annual Conference with the theme of “Blue Energy: from International Vision to Reality”. The conference was run in conjunction with a Marine Energy Mission, organized by the British High Commission in Wellington, which brought 12 UK companies to New Zealand. Subsequently, the NZ Ministry of Science and Innovation awarded 7 travel grants to New Zealand companies to visit the UK companies in the UK and to establish working links.
Operational Ocean Energy Projects
As noted above, the only devices that have been deployed this year are WET-NZ’s ½-scale device at Moa Point, Wellington and a similar but not identical WET-NZ ½ scale device deployed at NNMREC’s test site off Newport, Oregon.