Over the last few days I have been attending the Marine Energy Wales conference in Swansea. We have been big supporters of MEW for many years and it is great to see some of the policies and projects MEW has been pushing, coming to fruition. We do a huge amount of our work in Wales and in a marine sense, work with the tidal and offshore wind sectors all deploying in the Celtic Sea.
One really interesting session at the conference was entitled Co-location, Co-location, Co-location. It explored the opportunities and benefits of co-locating different forms of renewable energy generation together with a particular emphasis on wave and floating wind. As I listened I felt compelled to raise the question of whether the regulatory and policy regime we have in the UK is at all suitable for co-location. Our system and even now many of the policies we have coming through, are designed with a single technology in mind.
The expert panel ( for which thanks) recognised that wave had some way to go to commercialise before co-location discussions could move to the next stage, so felt that the regulatory and policy area can be sorted out in the medium term. I am optimistic it can as well, but of course if we look beyond wave we already have big opportunities to co-locate energy technologies.
At its simplest it is batteries with solar or wind. Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is a real thing - these projects are happening NOW and are ready. We are involved in many of these and our team are constantly having to advise on "work arounds" to fit these innovative projects into a legislative, policy, price support regime, consenting etc. scenario, that was never designed for them.
One of the messages we have been pushing on Net Zero is the need for all participants to look up from the particular sector or technology they are working on. So perhaps the Renewables and Net Zero industry ( and I include myself in this as well as all the industry groups) needs to focus attention on identifying ahead of time, the amendments that need to be made to existing measures ( the CfD for example).... and perhaps we all need to look up when reviewing new policies and consultations and ask "is there anything in this which would prevent co-location of other energy generation, storage etc."
Let's do our best now to futureproof.
Maybe we should consider Co-location of future energy technologies a bit more as we respond to new regulation and policy proposals