Wave power again

Breda O’Brien argues that it is high time to gamble on wave power in today’s Irish Times.

She hails Danish wind power as an example. The Danes heavily invested in wind power for two decades before benefiting handsomely from German subsidies. The Danes were alone for a long time, while Irish wave power lags behind Scotland, the USA, and Portugal. And other renewables are far ahead of wave power. It is a gamble indeed.

O’Brien argues that wave power will bring a substantial amount of jobs in construction and manufacturing. That may be. Wave power devices have heavy and simple components that are best built close to the shore off which they are deployed. Wave power will be first commercialized in Ireland, if anywhere, because our waves are the best in the world. Those construction jobs will come to Ireland regardless of who invented the technology.

O’Brien picks a winner. That is best left to the market. We should prepare ourselves for a range of possible futures rather than pretend that we can accurately predict technological change and develop skills  to match our preferred forecast.