Aquatera's Model for Multi-billion Pound Investment

May 20th 2009

Five years of effort have gone into a new modelling system designed to maximise the success of the emerging marine renewables industry.

Developed by Orkney consultancy Aquatera, the renewable energy resource assessment (RERA) tool helps the wave and tidal sector better plan for its future.

Inspired by strategic planning carried out for the offshore oil and gas industry, RERA also reflects the company’s wide experience of marine energy developments in Orkney and overseas.

It helps developers explore potential areas of operation, specific development sites, supporting infrastructure, and even the pros and cons of using different technologies. 

“The RERA tool goes beyond what are typically described as resource assessment models,” said Aquatera managing director Gareth Davies. 

“It takes into account not only raw and exploitable energy levels, but also technical limitations, cost and revenue factors, planning constraints and infrastructure needs.

“Consequently we’re confident that it provides the most comprehensive tool available globally to help plan marine renewable developments.”

The breadth of information that the model can handle has led to it being used to investigate grid connection and cable routing options, and in the planning of port developments. 

“It has also been utilised by numerous participants in the current marine renewables leasing round for the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters,” said Dr Davies. 

“Here the tool is being applied to find optimal development sites for a variety of specific technologies and development strategies.”

It is believed that projects capable of generating around 1500MW of marine energy - representing a possible investment of £3-5 billion.

“That’s a reflection of the insight it provides about siting options for wave and tidal projects,” added Dr Davies.

“There is no better endorsement of the model than the commitment to technology deployment that developers are prepared to make having used it.”