Friday, May 9, 2008


Well, the Offshore Technology Conference finished yesterday and I feel slightly less depressed. Offshore generally refers to offshore exploration and production of oil and gas, but it turns out that a lot of the technology is applicable to offshore wind farms and to hydrokinetic sources from waves, currents and tides. The reason for this is that the biggest challenges are not so much the turbines and whatever but the methods used to plant or tether the equipment at sea, and also getting the electricity (as opposed to the oil or gas) to shore. There were conference sessions on renewable energy, “CO2 security” and CO2 sequestration, but these were very much in the minority.

I went to a breakfast session put on by the UK Trade and Investment group and was impressed at all the ideas out there to harness wave power in particular. The Scots in particular have ideal offshore sites for both wind and wave and seem to see these industries replacing employment in the declining North Sea oil wells. They even have a test site where anyone with an idea can not only test it out but plug into the grid and sell the electricity.

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