By Caroline Thiébaud, Marine Renewables Engineer, Wood
Wood is leading the commercialisation and verification activities within the EnFAIT project. The role involves providing objective advice regarding the technical and commercial aspects of the technology and array design, and the verification testing that is proposed throughout the project. In addition, we are aiming to deliver a detailed tidal array project finance model, which would demonstrate how subsequent tidal array projects can become commercial and investable, based on the learning achieved throughout the course of the project as well as our wider industry experience. Our work within EnFAIT will include the development of roadmaps to generic-site certification, outlining requirements for achieving minimum overall cost of energy, and technical advisory guidance as the Nova Innovation tidal turbine and array technology progresses from initial concept to production-ready prototype ready for full certification. The project has developed a transparent verification framework, and we will continue to review and assess the project performance with respect to target objectives to ensure the merits of the project are documented with tangible and credible evidence.
During the initial stages of the project, Wood started by identifying and engaging with potential customers and investors within the renewable energy sector. This process was to ascertain investor opinion of the tidal energy market and to inform estimates of the market growth potential. We are currently developing a functional model for calculating Lifetime Cost of Energy, which will allow quantitative assessment of the economic performance of the EnFAIT project. We will soon be conducting an updated market study to gauge investors’ appetite for larger tidal arrays considering scale of resources, status of tidal technology and support regimes in different geographical areas.
In parallel, we have also established a framework document which will be used to undertake the verification activities of the EnFAIT design, commissioning and operational outputs. Our project partners have been working hard this past year to finalise the design elements of Nova’s EnFAIT turbine, upon which we will subsequently conduct the detailed design verification work.
I generally work on offshore wind and interconnector projects, which showcase more mature technologies. It is therefore a very exciting opportunity for me to be part of the development of the Nova turbines and array for EnFAIT, which represents a technology in the earlier stages of development and where the most innovative game-changing solutions may emerge directly from this pioneering work in which we are involved. I have the privilege of working with my Wood colleagues, some of whom are currently involved in the development of IEC Wave and Tidal standards, as well as specialists in many fields across the EnFAIT consortium of project partner companies.
This project brings together vast industry and academic expertise from across Europe, working as one towards the production and commercialisation of large-scale tidal arrays, which makes this adventure extremely exciting and cutting edge!