Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013 - (Page 40)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT Marine-Based Renewable Energy Creating Opportunities on a Global Scale By Reenst Lesemann, Columbia Power Technologies, and Rob Propes, Apex Clean Energy, Inc. T he growth of renewable energy around the globe will continue at a steady pace, offering new and increasingly larger market opportunities as the costs continue to decline. According to a recent report issued by the Department of Energy, “the United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment.” Along with the growth of terrestrial resources, marine-based renewables – offshore wind, wave and tidal energy – will play an increasingly important role in the global mix of renewable energy resources. Overseas, the installed capacity of offshore wind in Europe grew from approximately 160 megawatts (MWs) in 2002 to more than 5,000 MWs at end of 2012 and is targeted to reach 40,000 MWs by 2020, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Due to the consistency and reliability of wave and tidal energy, these ocean energy resources will likely follow a similar trajectory as the technologies are commercialized. In the EU, ocean energy resources alone are targeted for 2,000 MWs of installed capacity by 2020. Domestically, the early stages of marinebased renewable energy development can be seen in a number of areas. Rights to lease more than 160,000 acres for offshore wind development in federal waters off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island were recently awarded. The developer’s initial plans call for a 200 turbine project with an estimated capital investment of $5 billion. Offshore wind leases soon to be auctioned off the coast of Virginia could generate an equivalent capital investment over multiple build-out phases, along with thousands of construction and supply chain jobs. 40 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE On the maturing ocean energy side, Columbia Power Technologies recently completed a 13-month sea trial for a prototype of its wave energy system, and the Ocean Renewable Power Company recently became the first company to connect a tidal energy device to the U.S. grid. How will U.S. ports participate in the growth of the marine energy industry? Will there be the opportunity for value-added services and facilities provision, or will the involvement be limited to containerized import/export handling? To better understand this question, we will look at the three phases – pre-planning, construction and operation – of a hypothetical marine-energy project (MEP). Pre-planning for an MEP involves many tasks, including resource, logistical, environmental and financial planning. This initial phase concludes with the successful acquisition of an offshore lease, but it provides the first opportunity for port authorities to assist and engage with developers. Marine-energy equipment is large, bulky and heavy. While many components will arrive by truck, rail or container, items such as mooring equipment, towers, blades, cable, generators and hull structures will likely be brought in by ship or undergo waterside fabrication or final assembly. A typical wave or wind power system can weigh more than 1,000 tons unballasted and is usually intended to be floated to its deployment position. Breakbulk, ro/ro and heavy-lift component handling and inventory management, covered and uncovered lay-down and assembly facilities, logistics and the resources to manage these areas represent key opportunities for the involvement of port authorities. However, capturing this business requires early, proactive involvement and an unfunded commitment of business development and operational resources to work with the marine energy project developer during the pre-planning phase. Assisting the developer in stakeholder outreach and state-level policy support can also be important prerequisites to delivering a viable project plan. The construction phase will take a number of years to complete, with areas being built out in phases, offering a long-term regional economic driver. A wind project off the coast of Virginia, for example, is estimated to create 4.6 job-years in the local economy per megawatt installed. Operations and maintenance requirements create an additional 1.1 to 1.7 local jobs per cumulative installed megawatt, which are sustained for the 20- to 30-year service life of the project. Foreign Trade Zones are also an important tool with which ports can provide direct financial and logistical benefits. Given the long lead times and production sequencing requirements for certain high-value components, deferred customs duties and streamlined documentation can provide significant benefit to project developers. The build-out of the available energy resource will be accomplished over decades, but as specific projects go online and transition to the operational phase, maintenance and operational duties take over. Space and resource requirements will be reduced, but operational responsibilities, such as spare parts inventory management and maintenance-vessel berthing, will dominate the revenue opportunities post-construction. The growth of marine-based renewables in North America is coming. Recent domestic developments and international precedent demonstrate the magnitude of this new industry and the revenue and capacity utilization opportunities it will bring. The key to capturing these long-term economic benefits is proactive and innovative engagement and partnering with renewable energy project developers. ● Reenst Lesemann is CEO of Columbia Power Technologies. Rob Propes is development manager at Apex Clean Energy, Inc.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
LNG Poised for Dramatic Growth
Harnessing Wind Power
XXII Latin American Ports Congress Welcomes the World
Energy Policies Taking Hold
Environmental Certifications Offer Tangible Benefits
A Good Neighbor
AAPA to Honor 26 Ports for Communications at 102nd Convention
New Rules for Marine Engines Reduce Port Emissions
Marine-Based Renewable Energy Creating Opportunities on a Global Scale
Curb Energy Costs to Boost Profits, Maintain Competitiveness
Considerations When Evaluating Alternative Power Sources from an Air Perspective
Halifax to Implement Shore Power for 2014 Cruise Season
Aruba Creates Port-Funded Mangrove Reforestation Project
Arica: Meeting the Challenges Presented by Innovation and the Environment
FPL to Build Next Generation Energy Center at Port Everglades
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Fall 2013