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Action points to advance commercialisation of the Dutch tidal energy sector

Master Thesis: Jan van Zuijlen University of Utrecht

An analysis of the tidal energy Technological Innovation System in combination with lessons learned from the development of the wind energy industry

Water management has traditionally been focused on water safety, hygiene and agricultural problems, however, given the current need for sustainability in order to combat climate change, the possible production of sustainable energy is a desirable extension of integral water management. Tidal energy is a form of ocean energy which harnesses energy from the tides and has the potential to contribute significantly to sustainable energy solutions in certain coastal regions, thereby reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change worldwide. Activities surrounding tidal energy have grown substantially over the last 10 years in Europe as well as in the Netherlands, however the technology is diffusing slowly. The aim of this thesis is finding action points that will advance commercialisation of the Dutch tidal energy sector. The method consists of a desk study on the evolution of wind energy in combination with a Technological Innovation System analysis of the Dutch tidal energy sector for which 12 professionals have been interviewed. This study showed that the following three aspects of the tidal energy TIS performance poorly and need attention: Market formation, the creation of legitimacy and knowledge development. Concrete, the Dutch tidal energy sector is currently hampered by a weak legitimacy that emerges from a gap of knowledge regarding environmental impacts. The conclusion of this study is that the initiation of knowledge consortia concerning environmental impacts is a possible way to address these problems simultaneously. Overarching, an increasing receptive attitude by the water sector in the Netherlands is necessary in order for the tidal energy developments to continue in the same rate as in Europe. In that way, professionals and companies in the Dutch water sector can export this new technology in the future as a sustainability aspect of integral water management.


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