Just as they say that the grass isn’t any greener on the other side, so too, it appears, that the waters aren’t any bluer for MHK on the other side of the pond. On February 7, 2012, the Energy & Climate Change Committee of the UK House of Commons released a this Report on the future of marine renewables in the UK. Many of the hurdles identified in the report are the same as those experienced here in the US.
For example, the Report recognizes that to attract private investment to MHK, the cost must come down – and that cost reduction must be a priority over the next decade. The Report also notes that changing levels in government support can increase uncertainty and that there is a need to provide clarification on continued policies like renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) will last. At the same time, there is a need to continually balance industry support with rate burdens posed for consumers. Remaining issues include access to grid connections (potentially less of a problem in the US), protracted planning an consenting process and gaining widespread public acceptance.
To its credit, the UK government has vetted all of these obstacles publicly and made recommendations for moving forward. Perhaps we need to have similar discussions about the future of MHK here in the US as well.