Miguel Esteban 1 , David Leary 2 , Qi Zhang 1 , Agya Utama 1 and Keiichi Ishihara 1

1 Kyoto University, Energy Engineering Department, Sakyo-ku, Yoshida Honmachi, Kobakubu-1-Gokan,

353-goshitsu, Kyoto T606-8501, Japan, Tel: +81-75-7534750, Fax: +81-75-7534750

2 University of New South Wales, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Tel: +61-9385 9552 Fax: +61- 93851775

The year 2008 saw the emergence of the first generation of commercial ocean energy devices, with the first units being installed in the UK and Portugal. This means that there are currently three ways of obtaining energy from sea areas, namely from wind, tides and waves. The dynamism of the sector contrasts with the declining production of the traditional offshore energy sector in the UK, based around the production of oil and gas from the North Sea. A methodology was developed to determine the future size of the offshore renewable industry based on the concept of employment factor, or number of people required to maintain each unit of electricity production. Based on this it will be shown how the renewable offshore sector could produce between 5 and 7% of the world`s electricity by

2050 and employ between 600,000 and 700,000 people. An assessment will be made of the decline in the number of people employed in oil related jobs in the North Sea and the gap that this could create in the UK`s economy unless this offshore expertise could find an alternative employment in the renewable sector. The paper will also investigate the effect of gradually transforming the UK’s oil and gas sector into offshore renewables. If this was to happen by 2050 the UK offshore renewable industry could produce between 103 and 118 TWh, equivalent to around 50% of the current energy consumption in the country. The results shown are not unique to the case of the

UK, and a discussion of the potential of the offshore renewable sector in various countries will be made at the end of the paper.

Keywords: Ocean Energy, offshore wind, employment, scenarios, oil industry, decline

1 Introduction

As a consequence of climate change, how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has become one of the most important issues facing the international community. Under the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, 37 industrialized countries (referred to as Annex I countries) committed themselves to a reduction of four greenhouse gases (GHG) and two groups of gases produced by them, and all member countries gave general commitments. [1].

The development and diffusion of new technologies is seen as essential to achieve reductions in these greenhouse gases, as recognised by the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on

Climate Change (UNFCCC). The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report has also highlighted the important role that technology will play in addressing climate change [2].

The present paper draws attention to the fact that aside from any climate change considerations, there are other reasons why renewable energy should be pursued, namely those of guaranteeing energy security and job protection. While the authors agree entirely with the objectives and reasoning of the UNFCCC and IPCC, the focus of this paper will be somewhat different, and emphasize other important aspects of why renewable energy should be pursued. In particular, after decades of exploitation some traditional extraction grounds for fossil fuels are starting to become depleted, lowering the level of resources that can be extracted from them each year. In particular the present paper will explore the situation of the North Sea oil in the UK, although the challenges faced by the UK are similar to those faced by other countries as it has already past its “peak oil” production. This concept of peak oil describes the time when production of oil peaks and then enters a gradual decline, as has happened in many countries and may be happening to global production, as will be discussed later in this paper

The beginning of the main phase of exploration and exploitation of the North Sea followed the introduction of the UK Continental Shelf Act in May 1964, which lead to major discoveries and production rate increases during the 70’s and 80’s. The production saw its peak in 1999 with a production of 950 000 m³ (6 million barrels) of oil per day. Natural gas production was nearly

280×10 9

m³ (10 trillion cubic feet) in 2001 and continues to increase, although British gas production is also in sharp decline [3]. Production rates declined significantly after that.

Currently the UK’s oil and gas sector directly employs around 34,000 people, with many more indirectly employed through supply chains (a total of around 350,000 jobs, of which 230,000 are within the wider supply chain and another 89,000 supported by the economic activity induced by employees’ spending) [4]. It is estimated that in addition to this the export oil and gas employs a further 100,000 people [4]. As the oil starts to dry out these jobs will slowly start to disappear, which will have a detrimental effect in the economy of the country and will result in the loss of valuable expertise in offshore construction and operations.

However, in this paper we argue that this does not need to be the case. Already in the UK the importance of offshore wind energy is reflected in many businesses working in these segments in the industry, and the country also has some of the largest wind engineering and consultancy companies [5]. The wind industry is believed to have already created around 4,000 to 4,800 jobs, with an installed capacity of 882MW at the end of 2009 [5].

This industry is not the only one that is able to extract energy from offshore areas. The year

2008 saw the introduction of the first generation of commercial ocean energy devices, with the first units being installed in the UK and Portugal (SeaGen and the Pelamis respectively). This

sector has the potential to make an significant contribution to supply electricity to regions located close to the sea, though this source of renewable energy has so far not been utilised on a significant scale [6].

There are currently three types of energy mechanisms in sea areas from which energy can be generated in a commercial way (i.e. wind, tides and waves). For the purpose of this paper we describe all of these together in the term “offshore renewable energy”, as all three types of energy production share the common constraint of having to work in difficult offshore environments. With comparatively smaller visual impact (to land-based wind turbines), virtually zero CO


emissions, and minimal environmental impacts relative to other technologies this group of technologies appears to offer significant environmental and economic benefits as compared to other forms of energy production.

The objective of the current research is to try to understand what would happen if instead of allowing the jobs in the offshore oil & gas sector to disappear as oil stocks slowly diminish the sector was re-structured into an offshore renewable energy industry. The paper will argue that this would allow the UK to retain an important pool of talent which is not necessarily present in many other countries, which offers significant advantages to its economy and that could form a corner-stone of an “export” services renewable industry.

2 Decline in North Sea Oil Production

The North Sea has been the source of most of the UK`s oil for the last few decades, providing employment for thousands of people in the north and east of the country. However, data from

BP shows how oil production peaked in 1999 and has been in decline ever since, as can be seen from Fig. 1 [1]. This decline in oil production is often referred to as oil depletion, and it occurs in the second half of the production curve of an oil well or oil field. The Hubbert peak theory [7] makes predictions of production rates based on prior discovery rates and anticipated production rates, essentially approximating the production curves of non-renewing resources approximate a bell curve. Essentially when an oil field is completely drilled out, production goes into a sharp decline as the average production of its wells enter decline. The nature of this decline is exponential, meaning that initially the rates of decline will be quite sharp and then production will eventually level off and may continue at relatively low rates for a number of years.

In the North Sea, the rate of decline after that has varied from year to year but has averaged at around 7% [1]. The present work however considers the effects of two different oil depletion scenarios, with Scenario A showing an average annual decline of 5% and Scenario B of 7%, as shown in Fig. 1. This decrease in oil and gas production will have fundamental impacts on the number of people employed by the industry, which in turn will have profound consequences for

the society and economy of the UK. The key challenge that this depletion represents is how to transform the economy of the areas that depend on this industry, without losing the expertise and jobs of people used to working in these difficult marine environments.

Fig. 1. Historical production of UK`s North Sea Oil and depletion scenarios

3 Offshore Wind and Ocean Energy in the UK

Offshore renewable energy systems have the potential to absorb a great deal of the jobs that would otherwise be lost in the offshore oil industry. Currently the UK’s oil and gas sector directly employs around 34,000 people, with many more indirectly employed through supply chains (a total of around 350,000 jobs). As the oil starts to dry out these jobs will slowly start to disappear, which will have a detrimental effect in the economy of the country and will result in the loss of valuable expertise in offshore construction and operations.

3.1. Offshore Wind

Global output of wind power is expected to have increased eleven fold by 2010 to become the second largest source of renewable energy after hydro-electricity. Industry projections published prior to the current global financial crisis suggested the global wind market will grow by over 155 per cent to reach 240 GW of total installed capacity by the year 2012 [8]. By the end of 2008 in Europe there was more than 2.053 GW of off-shore installed capacity, as shown in Fig. 2 with several new large offshore projects planned in these and several other European countries in the near future [9]. Fig. 2 shows how the U.K. currently has more installed capacity than any other country [10]. Growth in the industry is expected to expand considerably in the following years, going from an annual installation of 194MW in 2008 to over 400MW in 2009, and in the order of 800 to 1,000 MW per annum for the period 2010 to 2014 [10]. Eventually it is believe that the UK's seas could provide enough extra wind energy to power the equivalent of

19m homes by having an extra 25GW of electricity generation capacity in addition to the 8GW of wind power already built or planned offshore – enough to power every household in the UK

[11]. This would provide more than a quarter of the UK's electricity needs and could generate up to 70,000 new jobs according to some estimations [11].

Fig. 2. Offshore wind installed capacity (2009, in MW)

3.2. Ocean Energy

While there has been much attention given to developments in relation to offshore wind energy, wind is not the only source of renewable energy in offshore areas. In the last decade or so a new generation of Ocean Energy technologies have also emerged. Ocean Energy defines a wide range of engineering technologies that are able to obtain energy from the ocean using a variety of conversion mechanisms [12], with the first commercial units coming online in 2008 and


The potential of this source of energy is promising [13] [14] “especially on west-facing coasts in either hemisphere with latitudes between 40° and 60°”. In the United Kingdom the Carbon

Trust recently estimated the extent of the economically viable offshore resource at 55 TWh per year, about 14% of current national demand [13].

The biggest ocean energy installation was a tidal barrage build at La Rance in France in 1966, which is still in operation today. In the UK, tidal barrages, such as the one proposed for the

River Severn, are currently being re-appraised, although opposition to schemes such as the

Severn Barrage appear to make it unlikely that the project will ever be constructed [15].

However in the last couple of years a new generation of modern ocean energy devices have

started to move from the prototype stage to installation of the first showcase commercial farms.

The first of these have just recently come into operation, with the Pelamis project (which has had its first commercial wave farm installed in Portugal) and SeaGen (in Northern Ireland) having just completed installation at the end of the summer of 2008 [16]. SeaGen, for example, could be compared to an underwater wind turbine, and its rotors operate for up to 18-20 hours per day, producing energy equivalent to that used by 1000 homes [17]. A number of other devices have completed prototype testing and are awaiting planning permission, such as the

WaveDragon, which currently awaiting environmental consent to construct and deploy a full-scale 7MW commercial demonstration unit in Pembrokeshire, Wales [18]. Also, there are currently a number of other projects and prototypes undergoing full scale testing (for example at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), which has 4 grid connected births for wave and 5 for tidal devices, all of which are either in use or booked [19]) or awaiting for support installations to be constructed (such as the WaveHub)

4 Methodology

In this paper we try to see what could be achieved if each job lost in the oil and gas sector would be replaced by a job in the renewable sector. Part of these newly created jobs would go into the installation and manufacturing and part would go into the operations and maintenance of the increasing number of installed devices.

4.1. Employment factors

To estimate the amount of capacity that could be installed it is first necessary to understand the number of people required to install, manufacture and maintain each MW of installed capacity, which is defined as the employment factor. Employment factors for offshore wind and ocean energy are given in [20] for the present date. However, general advances in technology and methodology are likely to reduce these factors, and hence it is necessary to also use decline factors (or learning adjustment rates), which will reduce the employment factor by a given percentage each year, to take into account this reduction in employment as the technologies mature [20]. Although [20] make a difference between offshore wind and ocean energy (see

Table 1), our assessment is that the factors given for ocean energy are probably too optimistic.

Though we note that the factors given in [20] are referenced, the references given are to reports from the early 2000 and for a study on the Wave Dragon unit, which although an advance prototype, is still to enter commercial production. Considering the natural similarities between the installation and maintenance of offshore wind and ocean energy (poor weather, difficult marine environment, the fact that technologies such as SeaGen require similar monopole installations as offshore wind structures, etc) we believe that it is more realistic to use for ocean energy similar factors as those used for offshore wind. The factors given in [20] are only up to

2030, and after this date the present study assumes that the learning factor will be 0%. Although

this does not appear realistic, there is very little available data at present, and keeping it at this level will nevertheless produce a conservative answer.

For the case of the oil and gas industry the employment is estimated to be directly proportional to the level of current production. Hence, it will also follow a decline proportional to the depletion rates of each scenario. The current study does not include the people employed in the wider supply chains of either the oil and gas or renewable sector. The oil and gas sector employs

34,000 people directly and an estimated extra 319,000 people in the wider supply chain

(230,000 in the wider supply chain and 89,000 supported by the economic activity induced by the employees’ pending) [4]. Such a detailed assessment does not exist for the renewable energy sector, and although less jobs are required for the transport of the raw materials, jobs still would be needed in the maintenance of the grid lines, transport of the different devices for maintenance or refitting, etc. However, as these factors are difficult to assess at present these indirect jobs were not taken into account.

Table 1. Employment factors for offshore wind and ocean energy

Installation and


(Person years/MW)

Operation and




Rates in job factors



Rates in job factors















Rates in job factors




4.2. Capacity Factors

To estimate future electricity production an assumption also needs to be made about the level of the average capacity factor of each renewable. Renewable energy, suffers from the problem that it cannot produce electricity all the times, as the driving force behind it varies with time and is sometimes not present. The capacity factor is thus defined as the ratio of the actual output over the maximum theoretical output during a certain period of time. Different capacity factors are offered by a variety of different studies. For example, Lemming et al. [21] assume a capacity factor for offshore wind of 37.5% for the whole period until 2050, as they expect the higher production of new turbines to moderate the lower availability of good wind sites. However, the average for offshore wind in the UK for the last 5 years was only 27.2% [22]. For the case of tidal barrages the load factor is much lower, typically around 23% [23]. It is claimed, however, that modern ocean energy devices are able to achieve much higher capacity factors than tidal barrages, in the range of 40-50% for tidal flows, and also around the figure of 40% for wave

[24]. Results for the WaveDragon device quote capacity factors of 37% [25]. However all of

these figures should be treated with caution, as there is yet no definitive evidence for them.

Reliability and access to devices is going to be the key driver for wave and tide and as yet there are no tidal or wave devices in the water that can really give a reliable estimate of this for the capacity factor. For this reason, we decided to use a rather more conservative value for the capacity factor of the ocean energy, and for the sake of simplification it was made the same as the one used for offshore wind, 27.2%.

5 Results

Using the methodology described, and assuming that adequate policies were put in place to ensure that the offshore renewable industry could develop adequately and absorb each year the loss of jobs originating from the depletion of oil, an estimate can be made of the size of each industry in 2050.

Fig. 3 shows the number of people employed for each of the North Sea depletion scenarios for the renewable and fossil fuel sectors. According to this by 2020 the oil and gas industry would employ between around 14,000 and 18,000 people (depending on the scenario) and the renewable sector would have between 1,400 and 1,800 employees maintaining structures and

14,000 and 18,000 involved in the installation of new devices. By 2050 the oil and gas industry would only have between 1,600 and 4,000 employees left, but the offshore renewable sector would be employing 10,000 to 12,000 people in maintenance and 19,000 to 20,000 people in the installation of new devices. The scenarios propose suggest that in the coming years there should be a rapid expansion in the installation of offshore units, as these would be a rapid expansion in the number of jobs in the sector, with the number of jobs peaking somewhere between 2034 (Scenario B) and 2040 (Scenario A).

According to these two scenarios by 2050 between 39 and 45 GW of offshore energy capacity could be installed (see Fig. 4), which could be producing between 93 and 107 TWh per year

(scenarios A and B respectively), as shown in Fig. 5. This would represent around between 42 and 49% of the energy sector consumption in the UK in 2006 [26]. There are a number of studies estimating the level of electricity consumption in the UK in the future, each yielding different results depending on the assumptions in the study. For the case of this paper we have chosen to show those by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, showing a gradual decrease in electricity consumption, reaching 111 TWh in 2050 (a reduction of 48% over 2006 levels [26]), a similar figure to that achieved by scenario B in the present work.









2009 2014 2019 2024 2029 2034 2039 2044 2049


Fig. 3. Employment levels in the offshore industry for Scenarios A and B

Employment Oil &

Gas Scenario A

Employment Oil &

Gas Scenario B

Maintenance Offshore

& Ocean Scenario A

Maintenance Offshore

& Ocean Scenario B

Installation Offshore

& Ocean Scenario A

Installation Offshore

& Ocean Scenario B







Scenario A

Scenario B


2010 2020


2030 2040 2050

Fig. 4. Installed capacity of both offshore wind and ocean energy for Scenarios A and B




Scenario A

Scenario B


Energy Demand Institute

Mechanical Engineers



Poly. (Energy Demand

Institute Mechanical



2008 2018 2028


2038 2048

Fig. 5. Electricity production and electricity demand scenario

6 Recommendations for Trade Unions, Policy Implications and Discussion

In February 2003 in an Energy White Paper the UK government laid out its energy policy to create a low carbon economy of the future. Three key strategies were at the core of this new policy, securing the UK`s energy supplies one fossil fuels start to run out, updating the UK`s energy infrastructure and tackling climate change [28]. However, this paper highlights the often ignored fact that the decline in oil production will have a profound impact on the society of some countries and on the labour market. It would be highly desirable to pressure governments to promote renewable energies not only for the sake of the environment but to make sure that sustainable jobs are created which do not disappear after the oil and gas resources are gone.

Essentially, for the case of the UK they constitute a pool of talent which has taken decades to build. In the same way in which the UK`s oil and gas sector now operates in other countries, generating further revenue at home (around 100,000 jobs according to [4]), building an offshore renewable industry could constitute one of the future corner-stones of the British economy.

6.1. Cost of Offshore Renewable

One of the main problems that offshore renewable energy faces is it competes with subsidized fossil fuel energy sectors in many countries, and it is thus imperative that the offshore energy industry be given greater financial assistance from governments in the early stages of its development. As with all forms of renewable energy, the main challenge is to bring the cost of producing electricity down to something that approaches the rates produced by other generating sources. Currently coal power is one of the cheapest ways of producing energy, at around

US$0.05 per kWh, although it’s true cost is believed to be US$0.08 if the CO


from coal-fired power stations had to be captured and stored underground, or if a carbon tax of $30 per tonne

was to be imposed on coal power generation [27]. Thus, in order to be competitive offshore energy should have to produce energy at somewhere in the US$0.05-0.08 cost range otherwise it will be uneconomic. The average generation costs for offshore wind in the UK is around 5.5 pence per kWh [28] – around US$0.11, depending on the exchange rate. Although the price of offshore energy normally follows a typical technology learning curve, and has indeed been following for years [28], the future cost of offshore wind capacity is a matter of debate due to uncertainties in the price of steel, which accounts for about 90% of the turbine. Nevertheless, the cost of offshore wind is expected to decrease by approximately 15 per cent by 2015, though the study on which this is based assumed a capacity factor of 37.5% [29].

It is quite difficult to ascertain the current cost of ocean energy, as this information is naturally not readily released by the leading companies in the industry. However, it is currently believed that the cost of generation on a life-cycle cost basis would be around US$0.10-0.25 per kWh for small projects, and that these would fall into the US$0.05-0.08 range as the technology develops. For example, the cost of energy from initial tidal stream farms has been estimated in the range of US$0.15-0.55 per kWh for tidal and wave energy farms and US$0.11-0.22 per kWh for tidal streams [30]. These are expected to decrease to US$0.10-0.25 per kWh by 2020.

Estimated learning factors are believed to be 10-15% for offshore wave and 5-10% for tidal stream [30]. An estimate of the costs of ocean energy by 2050, based on the expected development of the WaveDragon technology was also made [31]. For this a learning factor of

0.86 for the whole period was assumed, which would take into account the capital costs, operational maintenance cost and depreciation [31]. According to this calculation, ocean energy could become competitive with coal by 2025 for their optimistic-realistic scenario, and by 2050 for their pessimistic scenario [31], which is similar to the results by other authors [32].

6.2. Offshore Renewable Industry Promotion

So till these technologies become financially competitive with other dirty forms of energy generation it is imperative that policies are put in place to cover the difference in funding. In the

UK Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) are used to encourage the development of renewables, which at the time the report was written amounted to €0.11-0.16/kWh for England and €0.265-0.278/kWh for Scotland. In this way, licensed electricity suppliers in the UK have to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. They meet their obligations by presenting ROCs. Where suppliers do not have sufficient ROCs to cover their obligation, a payment is made into a buy-out fund. The buy-out price suppliers pay is a fixed price per MWh shortfall and is adjusted in line with the Retail Prices Index each year, currently

£37.19 for 2009/2010[33]. The proceeds of the buy-out fund are paid back to suppliers in proportion to how many ROCs they have presented [33].

However this assistance should not be limited to ROC’s. Grid connections are also a significant

problem for the offshore renewable sector, as these are costly and often the most promising areas for energy production are not adequately positioned with respect to the national grid. In this respect some efforts are being made, and for example the South West Regional

Development Agency (RDA) has just started construction of the Wave Hub, which will be able to connect up to 20MW of offshore devices to the grid once it is finished in the summer of 2010.

[34]. It has been calculated that Wave Hub could create 1,800 jobs and inject £560 million in the

UK economy over 25 years [34]. This is on top of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) already established in the Orkneys, with a capacity of 20MW. Also the UK has provided considerable funding so far, with programs such as the Marine Energy Challenge (2004) or the

Marine Energy Accelerator (2006) [35]. Various other supportive frameworks have also been launched by the Scottish and Welsh regional governments and in Ireland.

Despite all of these developments critics have expressed their concern at the relative inaction of the UK government in promoting renewables, as it currently lags behind other European partners. However, the government recently launched its Marine Renewables Proving Fund allowing wave and tidal energy developers to bid for US$36 million in new grants [36]. In the

UK 2009 budget £525 million was also promised through the Renewables Obligation (RO) certificates (which act in a similar way to feed-in-tariffs) and an extra £4 billion of new capital was made available from the European Investment Bank (EIB), much of it to protect investment in offshore wind [36].

7 The Offshore Sector and Developing Countries

The problems and challenges highlighted previously are not exclusive to the UK, and there are

“strong indications that world oil production is near peak”, with the average size of new discoveries falling decreasing dramatically since the 1960’s [37]. A considerable number of countries are believed to be past their peak oil production as shown in Fig. 6, and some of these will be discussed in some detail in the next section.

The North Sea is actually responsible for 40% of the total offshore oil production for non OPEC and Former Soviet Union countries, and offshore actually accounts for 50% of the total oil production of these countries [37].

Fig. 6. Oil production for various countries [3]

7.1. Mexico

Annual production has dropped or failed to increase each year since 2004, as can be seen in Fig.

6 [3], and in the first quarter of 2009 oil production was down to 2.667 million barrels per day, down 7.8 percent from a year earlier. The offshore oil field of Cantarell, the world’s biggest, has reached a plateau for some years and started to decline in 2005, going from 2 Mb/d in

January 2006 to 1.5 Mb/d in December 2006. Mexico could thus find itself in a situation similar to that of the UK, with a large pool of offshore expertise but declining production. The potential for the offshore renewable sector in Mexico is not so clear. Fig. 7 gives a general indication of the wave energy potential around the world, though this is not great for the case of Mexico.

Offshore wind could prove a far better option, as some areas appear to have good potential for offshore wind [38].

7.2. Brazil

The case of Brazil is somewhat different to that of Mexico or the UK, as the country is rapidly expanding its oil production capacity with the development of major deep offshore oil fields

[37]. Nevertheless, a considerable amount of wind power is also being installed in this country

[39], though so far all of it has been located onshore. However, it is debatable that a country with such vast lands, low population density and abundant other renewable sources (biofuels or hydropower) would chose to turn to the comparatively more expensive offshore renewables, although it cannot be ruled out.

7.3. People`s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China)


The case of China is somewhat different to the other countries mentioned so far in this study, as the offshore oil industry does not play such a big role in the economy of the country as a whole.

However, it is emerging as a significant market in offshore wind [40], motivated mainly by its huge thirst for energy in general. The first off-shore wind farm in the Asia-Pacific is currently being constructed in Shanghai, composed of 34 wind-driven generators with a total installed capacity of 102 MW and is scheduled for completion by the time of the 2010 World Expo. A further four large scale wind farms are also planned for the Fengxian, Nannhui and Hengsha districts of Shanghai with a planned 1 GW of installed capacity planned for Shanghai by 2020

[41]. Plans for 1000 MW off-shore wind farms in Zheijiang Province and Jiangsu Province are also underway [42]. Likewise in Hong Kong CLP Power Hong Kong Limited and Wind

Prospect are in the early stages of development of a proposed 200 MW wind farm in south eastern waters off Hong Kong that will provide approximately 1 % of Hong Kong’s energy needs [43] and take two years to build.

With regards to Ocean Energy, China started to build a number of barrages around the 1960’s, as part of policies from 1958 that emphasised energy independence as a key route to poverty alleviation [41]. As a result the Chinese government set itself an ambitious plan to construct tidal barrages, though only 11 of these were actually constructed, and only 4 actually ever produced electricity [41]. More recently, there has been some renewed interest in these schemes, and in late 2004 the Chinese Government planned once more to build a tidal power station near the mouth of the Yalu River [41].

1 As used by the International Energy Agency (IEA)

Table 2. List of major projects in People`s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China)

Place Capacity Date Company Place References




Total plan:


Finish ed by


SeaEnergy(UK) and

TGC( Taiwan)

West coast, distance:

2.5~10km , depth:30m


[44] Weihai,


Hong Kong


Period:10, total plan:


In plan


200 In constr uction

CLP, BMT in Southeastern

Waters of the




East sea,

Bridge(First offshore wind in


Total: 102

(34 x


First set starts from


Datang Power,

Guandong Nuclear


East Sea Bridge [41] [45]

[42] [46] Jiangsu,



3500 (in plan)

Fist set starts from


Guodian Power





Not clear

Fujian Mindong



7.4. Gabon and Indonesia

There are a number of other developing countries that have past their peak oil, such as Gabon and Indonesia, as can be seen from Fig. 6. Gabon, for example, currently produces a substantial amount of its oil from offshore platforms [48]. To our knowledge, however, the potential for offshore renewable in these countries has still not been studied in detail, though there is evidence that both countries could develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plants (OTEC)

[50]. These plants must be located in an environment where the warm surface seawater must differ about 20 °C from the cold deep water that is no more than about 1000 meters below the surface, and they shore must be located within 25km of the ocean region where the temperature difference occurs.

This is normally found in areas between latitudes 20° North and South of the Equator, as shown in Fig. 9

[50] . Of the group of oil producing developing countries, Gabon and Indonesia are considered to have a good potential [50]. Although tropical cyclones often disrupt OTEC activities (a major hurdle to the development of OTEC), both these countries are crucially outside typhoon prone areas due to their proximity to their equator. The resource potential in Indonesia is estimated to be able to produce enough electricity for the whole of the country [50].

7.5. India

As can be seen from Fig. 9, India also has considerable potential for the development of OTEC energy, and some trial plants have already built in this country, such as an 1MW OTEC and a

100t/d of fresh water desalination plant [50] 2 .

Fig. 8. Wave Energy Potential [49]


As explained by Prof. Ikegami during the presentation of [50], though this is not mentioned in the paper itself.






Fig. 9. OTEC Energy Potential [50]

8 Conclusion

The present paper highlights how the development of renewable energy sources is not only important for the mitigating the effects of climate change and increasing energy security in the

UK, but also to preserve a vital source of expertise in the UK that would otherwise disappear.

The decline in production of oil in the North Sea appears to be irreversible, which makes it imperative for the UK to find a way to employ a large pool talent, which is concentrated in the east and north of the country, particularly in Scotland [4]. Allowing these jobs to simply disappear could not only have a dramatic effect in the communities where they are located, but in other areas to which jobs extend through direct and indirect supply chains.

The preservation of these jobs, however, conveniently fits together with the present targets of the UK and Scottish governments, which have [51] set targets of 20% and 40% of their energy to come from renewables, respectively. The UK aims ultimately to cut CO


emissions by 60% by 2050, meaning that 30-40% of the electricity production would have to come from renewables. The present paper shows how by converting the offshore oil and gas sector to the production of offshore renewables, the UK could produce between 42 and 46% of the electricity it produced in 2006. For this to happen it is very important that pressure is placed on governments so that adequate policies are put in place to promote the development of renewable energy. Finally, it is important to realize that many countries have either past their peak oil or will soon do so, and thus it is important for governments to realize the potential that offshore renewable energy has to take over the jobs which will disappear in the oil industry.

This is particularly important for developing countries where a large percentage of the GDP comes from the oil industry, such as Mexico or Gabon, and it would be advisable to pressure governments at an early stage before the existing pool of expertise is lost.


Funding for the research carried out at Kyoto University has been provided by the GCOE

Program run by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Funding for David Leary’s research has been provided by the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales.


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