We are now approaching the end of the first phase of the DECC project with all Phase 1 reports and Phase 2 applications due on the 29th March. This information will then be used to assess the applicants to go through to Phase 2, which extends over the next 12 months concluding in March 2014.
All the applicants have been busy and are now concluding their figures and specifications, refining their life cycle analysis and obtaining necessary permissions. They are required to report in detail on not just project delivery, budgets and energy use, but exploitation, risks and mitigation, emissions, together with mass and energy balances.
Details of site selection need also to be included and over the last 3 months numerous site visits with applicants have been made from Somerset to Scotland looking at appropriate wetland sites where demonstrations could take place.
Each application is a consortium of deliverers, including universities, industry and energy producers. That is one of the strengths of the DECC approach, bringing otherwise disparate disciplines in one place to solve a problem. That has always been the land managers’ challenge to try to pull all the pieces of the jigsaw together, but without the knowledge to do so.
Once the applications have been submitted they will be assessed and decisions reached during the third week of April. It has not been defined as to how many applications will be successful, but I hope with numerous technological solutions on the table that we will have at least a number of different avenues to pursue, as I think we know for sure that one sizes doesn’t fit all and this is a difficult nut to crack.