Generation And Transmission Systems For Wave Power: A Feasibility Study
Department of Energy: Technical Advisory Group 6 (Generation and Transmission) of the Wave Energy Steering Committee
Following his recommendation to WESC, Dr. J.K. Wright was asked to approach GEC, Joseph Lucas and IRD with a view to seeking their support in assessing the technical feasibility and cost of converting wave energy, available in some mechanical form at the output of a device (WEC), to a more usable form for consumption on the UK mainland. At this time it was anticipated that this usable form would be electricity which would be fed into the CEGB/Scottish Boards grid network but it was also agreed that other energy forms were to be included. Early agreement by the companies on the desirability of such a study and discussions on how it might proceed led to the proposal 'Getting the Power to Shore' (1). The overall objectives of the study were agreed as (i) to identify and assess possible energy conversion and transmission system; (ii) estimate the performance and cost of the more promising systems and make a first order assessment of the impact of the operational and performance characteristics of particular designs on the overall economics of WEC systems; (iii) provide design information for the device teams developing particular WECs - both through independent studies and by way of consultancies; (iv) estimate the timescales and the R & D effort required to implement particular designs. The very large number of possible routes, the unfamiliar characteristics of the energy supply and the 'fluid' state of the thinking of the device teams were all factors which led TAG 6 to propose a preliminary, 9 month, 'broad brush' study as a necessary precursor to a detailed study of preferred systems. It is this preliminary study which is the subject of the present report. The succeeding sections of the report set out the specific objectives of the preliminary survey, set out the system options, discuss the assumptions which have been made in relation to wave and device properties and then discuss specific elements of the possible systems. The final sections relate these generic considerations to specific device designs and describe the preferred systems, ranked in order of technical 'credibility' and cost, which TAG 6 believe should be examined in greater detail during the second stage of its phase I study. Frequent reference is made to the working papers which have been prepared in the course of this study (a total of more than sixty are listed in Appendix III). It goes without saying that these papers are available for examination by anyone who wishes to obtain background information and supporting technical detail but the reader is asked to note that these are working papers and do not necessarily represent the present views of TAG 6. It would be surprising if detailed studies during stage II, when better information is available from device teams and the other TAGs, do not give rise to further shifts of emphasis.