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To understand the risk inherent at each stage of the project, we need to identify the various tasks involved during each phase. Once we know the tasks then we can establish the risks (no ref needed). Use to display where the risks fit and where the greatest risk exposure exists.
A generic sequence of events tends to apply across the main phases of marine renewable device development, namely research & development, construction & commissioning, instillation, operation & maintenance and decommissioning.
According to the Scottish Enterprise Marine Renewable (Wave and Tidal) Opportunity Review (2005) "The project life-cycles for wave and tidal projects share many steps in common with offshore wind projects" They identify eight main steps that make up the lifecycle of a project.
This stage involves a study of the location of the proposed project to verify its feasibility (e.g. suitable wave/tidal energy source) and to assess its impact on the local environment. Some national governments have performed initial assessments of their resources, but developers will need to perform additional studies to verify the suitability of a site for a specific device. Resource assessments.
Applications for planning permission and permits are prepared at this stage, building on the studies performed during the surveying stage. The complexity of this stage varies according to the size and duration of the project in question. However, even prototype projects can be required to obtain approval from a wide range of authorities (the highest noted is 12 government bodies) which can introduce delays.
Cleijne, H, (2004) highlights that "the risk of a renewable energy project depends strongly on the stage of its development". This is certainly true of wave and tidal developments that require huge initial capital investment in projects that are surrounded by uncertainty. The risks are substantially greater at the project development stage when planning licenses and consenting permits have not been obtained. The developer will be unsure if the project will be possible at this stage. This point is stressed by Cleijne, H (2004) when describing the risk of failure during the initial stages of a renewable energy development project, where the planning and consents process, and financial, site and technological conditions could force the abandonment of the project. As time moves on with a project and the relevant permits and licenses are granted, then the risk of project failure decreases.
During the manufacturing stage, all the equipment needed for the project is produced. This not only includes the wave/tidal energy device and its associated offshore equipment, but also the onshore infrastructure that will be needed to support the project (e.g. switch gear for grid connection).
This stage sees the equipment tested and certified as fit for purpose. Tests can range from materials testing to ensure quality standards have been met, to demonstrate that the components and the complete system meet the necessary standards for use. Independent certification authorities may be involved at this stage.
As a project moves into the construction phase a new set of risks appear, primarily related to the supply chain, contractors, engineering and safety aspects. Contractual risks are critical at this stage, with developers needing to secure reliable procurement and construction contracts. Get some contractual refs
The operation of the system includes activities such as performance monitoring, reliability management, structural monitoring and repair. Periodically, offshore systems may need to be returned to shore for maintenance or replacement.
As in the offshore wind and oil and gas sectors, decommissioning will require the removal of all equipment and the return of the site to a natural state. Before decommissioning, it will be necessary to consider what effects the removal of structures and equipment will have on the environment and wildlife (e.g. surface devices may be used by sea birds as a nesting site11) in order to minimise disruption in the area.
A wide range of companies are involved in the marine renewable sector. Figure 17 below shows the key segments of the sector. Services that are needed for the successful completion of a project range from insurance and finance, resource assessments, environmental surveys, design, manufacture, offshore construction, operation and decommissioning.
Different members of the supply chain are responsible for different parts of projects depending on the type of project and its stage of development. Key classes of firms that are involved in the supply chain include Legal firms, Financial firms, Insurance firms, Marine Service firms, Technology Developers, Manufacturers, Test Facilities, Project Developers, Installation Contractors, and Energy Majors/Utilities.