SEAcORE Bulletin – Nov 2014

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Ocean renewable energy in SIEW 2014

This is a summary of what has been done and achieved by SEAcORE for ocean renewable energy in Southeast Asia during the Singapore International Energy Week 2013 (SIEW 2013). Three major events happened during SIEW –technical sessions on ocean renewable energy (ORE), roundtable discussion on the role of the government on ORE and its impact to industries and the focus group discussion on the opportunities and challenges of ocean renewable energy in Southeast Asia region.

SEAcORE Bulletin no.3 – November 2014For more information, please contact: Ms. Mary Ann Joy Quirapas, Lead SEAcORE Secretariat ( Board: Dr. Srikanth Narasimalu, Program Director (Wind and Marine Renewable, ERI@N) and Dr. Michael Lochinvar Sim Abundo, Research Fellow (W&M Renewable, ERI@N)

Ocean renewable energy in SIEW 2014

What is SEAcORE?

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The Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE) is spearheading a regional initiative to increase the uptake of ORE in SEA. With the help of Ocean Energy Systems and their funding, SEAcORE was able to utilize this fund to initiate collaboration for ORE in SEA region.

Asia Future Energy Forum (AFEF) Technical Sessions on Ocean Renewable Energy

Ocean Renewable Energy was a major theme during the Asia Future Energy Forum (AFEF) within SIEW 2013. One of the keynote presentations in the plenary session was about the Uptake of Ocean Energy in Canada, delivered by Mr. Bruce Cameron, Executive Director of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy of the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. Bruce shared the lessons that Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), Canada’s leading research centre for in-stream tidal energy, learned in terms of how FORCE was organized, who were the key stake holders for its creation and what has been the role of the Canadian government in making FORCE happen. Some of the key points during his discussion were: 1. comprehensive strategy required 2. industry cannot operate in isolation. This means that cooperation was needed to make standards; it is needed on research and having to achieve best practices and technology worldwide. 3. Success requires significant cooperation and alignment of interests and finally, government leadership is important where as it is seen to be critical for consistency and predictability.

A whole conference day was dedicated to the offshore renewables track, focusing mainly on ORE in a global and regional scale like Southeast Asia. Mr. David Ingram of International Energy Agency-Ocean Energy Systems (UK) presented the International Vision for Ocean Energy in one of the technical sessions. Part of the presentation was the discussion on the industrial and societal goals for ocean renewable energy in the world – “By 2050, ocean energy will have 337 GW of installed capacity and in terms of its impact to society, ocean energy will have created 1.2 million direct jobs and saved nearly 1 billion tons of CO2 emissions.” He was with other speakers from prominent ORE institutions like the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) represented by its Operations Director, Mr. Stuart Baird spoke about the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome during EMEC’s 10-year operation in the high-energy-yet-environmentally-harsh sea conditions of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Finally, GL Garrad Hassan Strategy and Policy Consultant Ms. Felicity Jones discussed about the local roadmap for a global market of wave and tidal energy in Southeast Asia. She mentioned that the ingredients – resource, lively academic community, and emerging cluster are already in place. With a local roadmap, Ms. Jones argued that Southeast Asia will be able to summarize of ORE technologies to date, provide a focal point for the future, engage stakeholders and demonstrate interest and vision of local players and government.

Major topics for the ORE technical sessions were Economics, Market Outlook and Policy for Marine, Marine Resource Assessment, Tidal Power Generation and OTEC and Wave Energy. ORE Experts around the globe were invited to speak for each session. Few of them were Professor AbuBakr Bahaj of University of Southampton who talked about the “Apprising the Spatial Planning of Marine Current Turbine Arrays.” He concluded that array installation is more likely to be modular and progressive. Dr. Cameron Johnstone of Nautricity talked about the “Development and Testing of a Novel CoRMaT Turbine Supported from a Hydro-buoy Based Mooring,” which mainly focused on a lighter and more rapidly deployable tidal turbine system and may be more suitable in the Southeast Asian region. Mr. Drew Blaxland of Atlantis Resources Corporation also gave an “Update on Altantis Tidal Technology Development.” Atlantis is the world’s leading tidal current energy generation technology and ocean power projects in terms of turbine sales and seabed under management globally. Drew mentioned few of major active and future projects of Atlantis in Canada, China, Scotland (where there is the world’s largest tidal power project), South Korea, Continental Europe, Chile and United Kingdom. Mr. Carsten Broich also gave his presentation about OTEC Foundation of the Netherlands and discussed the efforts of the Foundation in assisting in the information awareness and effective communication among crucial stakeholders for the increase in the uptake of OTEC not only in Europe but also in the other regions of the world.

The Southeast Asian experts on ORE were also well-represented during the conference. Some of the Southeast Asian participating institutions were University of the Philippines (UP), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Vietnam Academy for Water Resources, DCNS Far East (Singapore) and Hann Ocean Energy.

On the second day of the conference (October 30. 2013), the Southeast Asian team of the International Network for Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE) or the INORE-SEA was able to present and invite young researchers and participants of AFEF. They were given allotted time to speak during the poster session of the conference.

As part of the SEAcORE initiative to information and technology sharing, the SEAcORE Team together with the INORE-SEA had visited Singapore’s first tidal turbine system (and the first in tropical waters) in Sentosa Boardwalk. This turbine was designed and constructed by the Wind and Marine Renewable Team of the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) and partly funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The power produced from the turbine is enough to light up the nearby exhibit, although this effort is seen to be the beginning of exploring and studying bigger scale tidal and wave turbines.

Roundtable Discussion on the Role of Government on Ocean Renewable Energy and Its Impact to Industries

The Roundtable Discussion (RTD) was part of the Think-Tank Sessions of SIEW and was sponsored by Singapore Energy Market Authority (EMA). This year, the topic focused on the role of government in the increase of ocean renewable energy uptake and how this role affected the ocean renewable energy-related industries. The RTD’s objectives were the following:

  • Provide a platform for the discussion and exchange of ideas and insights among different stakeholders including – government sectors, academia, industry players, and civil society – on the role, potential, and development of ocean renewable energy with specific emphasis on the region.
  • Offer a setting where government officials, academics, industry players, and civil society groups from the region can meet and interact with one another not only on ocean renewable energy research collaboration, but most importantly on possibility of streamlining ORE policies in the region.
  • Promote intra and inter-regional collaboration on ocean renewable energy policy-making, research and development through institutions like the ASEAN.

Distinct panel of speakers were invited for this session.

  1. Bruce Cameron, Executive Director, Sustainable and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy Nova Scotia. Canada
  2. Cameron Jonhstone, CEO, Nautricity Limited
  3. David Ingram, Representative, Ocean Energy Systems (OES)
  4. Drew Blaxland, Chief Technology Officer, Atlantis Resources Corp.
  5. Hardiv Situmeang, Director, ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE)
  6. Justin Wu, Head of Wind Industry Research, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  7. Lu Kuan, Ocean Technology Strategy and Planning Department, National Ocean Technology Centre (NOTC)
  8. Stuart Baird, Operations Director, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

This session was moderated by Professor AbuBakr Bahaj, Head of Division, Energy and Climate Change of University of Southampton, UK. Each panelist was given two questions that they needed to address within the discussion. They were asked to form their answers according to the following: 1. Get the scene and give one’s views in relation to one’s experience; 2. Give a global or country specific view of ORE and 3. Highlight anything that can be related to the region. There was a plenary debate after the panel presentation which included the audience.

The panel agreed that the major challenge for ORE to be readily available and commercially viable as an alternative source of energy in the region is to overcome its cost production. According to Cameron of Nautricity, ORE technology development had to decrease by 30% as it costs more than £ 8 million/MW at the moment. The means that it should be lowered down to £3.5 million.MW before there could be technology evolution. In addition to that, Dr. Ingram of OES said that the high cost production of ORE technology includes machines, installation, operation, resource-technology matching. These need to be reduced in order to deliver bankable projects.

One crucial factor that could be done to address the cost challenge is to build in the confidence and investments in ORE technology. Government could play a key role in this as emphasized by Mr. Bruce of Department of Energy, Nova Scotia. He argued that if government/public is willing to sustain the high prices for enough electricity, then it could close the gap between current and competitive costs of ORE technologies. Government support and policy requirement should be consistent where they set a reasonable objective, stay in the course of achieving that goal and should carefully coordinate regulatory requirements. He also encouraged collaboration among multi-level stakeholders as part of a price for R&D and market support to ORE technologies.

Research and development would also be an important factor to reduce cost, they said and Mr. Lu spoke about how the Chinese Government has established a RMB 600 million fund for the development of ORE projects.  Mr. Situmeang said that there were existing funding opportunities for climate change projects under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Mr. Blaxland said that a lot of work had already been done in other parts of the world, such as the UK, on ORE and Asia should tap into the existing knowledge base to build capability.  Mr. Cameron said that Asia should also be strategic in picking investment targets in order for ORE to take off.

Should the costs come down, the panelists said, ORE would be able to bring multiple benefits such as growth in the local economy, job creation and increased access to electricity in remote areas.  (See more at:

Focus Group Discussion and the SEAcORE Meeting

Right after the RTD, the SEAcORE Core Founding members held their second meeting for this year. The country delegates who were present were the following:

Indonesia – Dr. Alan Owen, Director and Ms. Leuserina Garniati of Centre for Understanding Sustainable Practice, Robert Gordon University (RGU)

Malaysia – Dr. Omar Yaakob, Professor and Ms. Fara Ellyza Binti Hashim, Phd Student of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

Philippines – Dr. Laura David, Deputy- Director for Instruction, Marine Science Institute (MSI) of University of the Philippines (UP), Ms. Marianne Eleonor Catanyag, Mr. Mario Buhali Jr. and Mr. Francis Corpuz of UP

Thailand – Dr. Chaiwat Ekkawatpanit, Associate Professor and Dr. Duangrudee Kositgittiwong of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)

Singapore – Dr. Narasimalu Srikanth, Program Director, Mr. Ravindran Pallaniapan, Research Scientist, Dr. Michael Abundo, Research Fellow and Ms. Mary Ann Joy Quirapas, Project Officer of Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N)

There were also presentations from invited guest speakers who were the following: Prof Chul H. Jo Chairman of Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC), Mr. Cameron Johnstone (as the Chairman of the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC)) and Director Hardiv Situmeang from ACE. Prof Jo and Cameron talked about the possible collaboration of AWTEC and SEAcORE. This would unify the efforts in the Asian region with regard to ocean renewable energy. Dr. Hardiv, on the other hand, emphasized that at this point the ocean renewable energy assessment is not yet part of the renewable energy resource in Southeast Asia. He suggested that SEAcORE could be the technical working group of ACE who could assist in putting ORE as part of renewable energy resource of the region.

The presentations were followed by the SEAcORE Secretariat report led by Dr. Michael Abundo and Ms. Mary Ann Joy Quirapas. The minute of the last meeting was ratified and some important updates were announced during the meeting. Few of them were:

  1. Seven MoUs were signed (and three in process) between NTU and the other SEA institutes as a start of collaboration process;
  2. Surveys of Capabilities from different SEA countries were collated in one database. This would serve as baseline data for collaboration;
  3. Possible specific ORE projects among SEA countries were pinpointed and could be the basis of future research collaboration;
  4. SEAcORE Sectratariat Team was created;
  5. Current status of ORE in SEA was studied and presented to the team and;
  6. SEAcORE Thrusts (Resource Assessment, Feasibility Studies, Training Programmes/R&D Collaboration and Deployment of Demonstration Projects in SEA) and SEAcORE Collaboration Framework were discussed.

Right after the Secretariat report, the floor was open to discussion leading to the focus group discussion. The topic was the Opportunities and Challenges of Ocean Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia. Each country was asked to answer the following questions during the FGD:

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges of ORE in SEA (specifically for your country)?
  2. How can we address these gaps?
  3. What are the next steps (for SEAcORE)?

In summary, the main challenges to be addressed in order to increase the uptake of ORE in SEA are resource assessment, development of technical expertise on ORE, opportunities for collaboration and funding and existence of policy framework for ORE. The group concluded to draw the next steps for SEAcORE by addressing the gaps and the challenges for ORE in SEA. This will be done through a strong collaboration (i.e. joint-research program, student exchange, study visits to develop and enhance information, expertise and technology sharing) among the different SEA ORE universities and institutions. This will be further strengthened by local initiatives to pursue and lobby for ORE to be part of the renewable energy programme of each SEA country. Finally, the presence of SEAcORE in the regional level would also be helpful. The group is working towards the goal of being the technical working group of ACE for ORE.#