Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Exploring the potential of wave and tidal energy was the focus of a workshop held at the Pegwell Bay Hotel, Ramsgate last Friday (22 June).
Hosted by Thanet District Council, the workshop was part of the PATCH (Ports Adapting to Change) project, a four year €9.5m scheme between the ports of Oostende, Zeebrugge, Ramsgate, Portsmouth, Newhaven, Calais, Zeeland and East Sussex County Council.
The project aims at giving small and medium sized ports in the Channel area and the Southern North Sea additional capacity to make changes and be open to innovation and entrepreneurship.
The workshop featured key speakers who discussed what blue energy is and what the barriers and opportunities are to commercial wave and tidal energy development for European ports in the long term.
Developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce for the blue energy industry was also a hot topic. John Parsons from Thanet College’s Centre for Environmental Technologies discussed how the college has now developed specific courses to enable young people to get and effective training for future employment in this industry. 
Mark Seed, Director of Operational Services for Thanet District Council, said: “The event was a huge success and enabled in-depth discussions from partners across the UK and Europe about how blue energy development could work. 
“The council has a vision for a sustainable future and is keen to look at all emerging opportunities to invest in renewable energy. We are very interested in opportunities that will ensure clean, free electricity and commercial value to the port, but that are also beneficial for the local residents and to the environment.
“The Port of Ramsgate is very optimistic about the opportunities that the tidal and wave sector can bring as we have the short-based infrastructure already in place. With the London Array, Kentish Flat and Thanet Offshore Windfarms already constructed, the connectivity needed for tidal and wave is already in place.
“The opening of the London Array offshore Windfarm in 2010 was the first step in this direction and this workshop has helped us increase our knowledge of technologies and devices for zero emissions from natural source of power.”
Wim Stubbe, AGHO’s Business Development Manager and PATCH Project Leader, said: “Ports will play a significant role in delivering the EU Renewable Energy Policy objectives for 2020 and beyond.
“Through the PATCH project and a number of diverse demonstration pilots and workshops we have been working to allow our small and medium sized ports to become more energy efficient.
“Jointly debating the pros and cons of experimental wave farms and the results of tests on tidal energy generators with experts from the sector can help us to better plan towards reaching this ambitious goal”.

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