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De-risking utility-scale marine energy investments by extending the regular project implementation by a competitive technology qualification routine

Date: November 05, 2013 at 18:08 GMT

Today's conventional power projects are realised within an established framework of proven project implementation concepts and mature technology. The equipment procurement is typically realised by international competitive bidding within a balanced system of international standards and guidelines.
Marine energy in contrast finds itself in a transition phase from implementing first arrays with full-scale devices – enabled by direct agreements between utilities and manufacturers – towards becoming an accepted alternative electricity generation method. To successfully handle the challenges on the way to full commercialisation, appropriate risk reduction and implementation concepts are required.
The principal idea outlined in this paper is to extend the execution of utility-scale marine energy projects by a competitive technology qualification routine during which different manufacturers' power conversion devices are installed and operated in real-sea conditions in the project area for a defined period of time. The individual device performance is assessed and the manufacturer of the best-ranked system is awarded the principal contract. Non-successful competitors are partly compensated.
The presented approach represents a transparent evidence-based selection procedure to reliably identify the most suitable technology for a specific site and will increase the predictability of the economic performance of large-scale projects. 

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