Marine Energy Regional Research Institute Proposal

Dr Gareth Gretton, Chair, Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association.

The Aotearoa Wave and Tidal Energy Association is hugely supportive of a Regional Research Institute for marine energy, and the Taranaki region, with its offshore engineering expertise, and its wave energy resource, is an ideal candidate for this.

Governments around the world, including the UK, the US and Australia, have realized that marine energy is one of the sustainable energy technologies of the future, and they have supported this by establishing research and development centres, similar to RRIs. The European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkney Islands of the UK was one of the first, and it has had a transformative effect on the economy there.

NZ has been at the forefront of wave energy developments with, for example, the WET-NZ device, tested in the waters off Christchurch and Wellington. Now known as AzuraWave, it is being tested in Hawaii with US funding. An RRI for marine energy could help these developments to continue in NZ, with benefits for the NZ economy. Further projects are also in the pipeline, and would benefit from the catalysing effect of a RRI.