The fourth international conference on Offshore Energy & Storage (OSES2017) took place at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod between July 12 and 14 of this year. The conference series has emerged from a vision shared by researchers at the University of Nottingham and colleagues at the University of Windsor in Canada. Five years ago these were the only two universities to have given serious consideration to the possibility of storing substantial amounts of energy at very low cost in the form of compressed air held deep underwater (several hundreds of metres).
The conference included contributions from 10 different countries and featured topics such as underwater compressed air (in a format not previously discussed), liquid air energy storage combined with pumped thermal energy storage, flexing desalination plant to match the availability of wind resources, integrating wave energy with offshore wind power plants, integrating uranium collection with offshore wind farms, novel inspection methods for monitoring offshore structures and a host of other contributions ranging from the deeply analytical to the highly inventive.
Seamus Garvey of the University of Nottingham and Rupp Carriveau of the University of Windsor share the view that the emphasis on offshore energy is presently at a tipping-point, with the ability to dispatch energy when it is in high demand becoming more important than the so-called “Levelised cost of electricity”. They have accepted the honour of becoming co-chairs of a new technical committee on ocean energy for the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, who are set to co-sponsor the conference in future years.
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