Marine energy research institute proposed for New Zealand

The Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand, has proposed creating the Taranaki Regional Research Institute. Located on the western side of the country’s North Island, the institute would focus on developing marine energy technology.

Green Party energy and resources spokesperson, Gareth Hughes, made the announcement this week and the government of New Zealand could fund the institute.

According to the Green Party, regional research institutes are funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment through a “contestable process.”

“The Green Party in government would hold a specific contestable funding round to choose the location and partners for the marine energy research institute,” said the organization.

The ministry currently has US$11.7 million available in unallocated funding.

“New Zealand risks falling behind in the global race to develop marine energy technology and the Green Party will help stimulate research into this exciting clean energy sector by establishing a Marine Energy Regional Research Institute,” Hughes said.

Hughes’ position that there is a “global race to develop marine energy technology” is bolstered by data in “Wave and Tidal Energy Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016 – 2024,” a research report released in 2016.

According to the report, the global wave and tidal energy market is expected to increase from $497.7 million in 2014 to $11.3 billion by the end of 2024. During the forecast period of 2016 and 2024, the global market is expected to rise at a combined average growth rate of 23.2%.

New Zealand has already experienced success with tidal energy within its waters and internationally.

In 2015, HydroWorld.com reported Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) successfully completed sea trials with pilot scale projects in New Zealand and Oregon with the AzuraWave (former Wave Energy Technology New Zealand or WETNZ).

NWEI announced it successfully deployed the AzuraWave energy device in June 2015 at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site near Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. NWEI said its device would be grid-connected for power generation testing in an effort to commercialize marine energy.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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