A factor common to all marine technologies is that pilot projects need to be relatively large-scale if they are to withstand offshore conditions. These are costly and carry high perceived risks. These considerations have inhibited early development of these technologies. It is only in recent years that adequate funds have been made available to permit sizeable pilot projects, due largely to government policies to encourage ocean renewables. Once successful pilot projects are completed and confidence in the concepts grows, financing for even larger projects may become easier to obtain. Any major failures would, however, set progress back.
Although the prospects for tidal barrages are good in certain locations, their site-specific environmental effects need careful assessment. The technology reduces the range of the tides inside the barrage. This may affect the mud flats and silt levels in rivers, which would cause changes in the wildlife living in and around the estuary. It could also change the quality of the water retained by the barrage.
Non-technical challenges include the need for resource assessment, the development of energy-production forecasting and design tools, test and measurement standards, environmental effects, arrays of farms of ocean energy systems and dualpurpose plants that combine energy and other structures.
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