Vernon Harcourt Lecture 2016: Marine Renewables – Crossing the Valley of Death, London

8 February, 2016 | 18:00 - 19:40

Vernon Harcourt Lecture 2016: Marine Renewables – Crossing the Valley of Death, London

About this event

The first known patent for wave energy was filed over 200 years ago in Paris.  The first co-ordinated programme of research in marine energy was undertaken in the 1970s.  In the last 20 years, the industry has rapidly grown and achieved a number of important milestones in demonstrating the viability of marine energy.

The UK and Scottish Governments have clear aspirations of realising the potential of the industry by generating renewable energy while creating jobs from an indigenous industry. To enable this they have put in a broad suite of policies and support mechanisms.

Despite this long history and desire to realise the market potential, in 2016 commercial marine energy is still not a reality.  What are the challenges to the industry in crossing the valley of death?  Are the barriers technical – such as the challenges of working in the aggressive offshore environment – or are they socio-economic?

Clare Lavelle of Arup will review the substantial progress made by the industry in demonstrating the viability of marine energy and opine on the future of the industry and its route to commerciality.

The lecture will be chaired by Keith Clarke, Vice President of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


18:00 Registration and refreshments
18:30 Welcome from the Chair
18:35 Main lecture
19:15 Questions and answers session 
19:35 Summation from the Chair
19:40 Finish


Clare Lavelle

John Beswick
Clare Lavelle, Associate |  Energy Scotland and North East, Arup

Clare leads Arup’s energy consulting team in Scotland. A mechanical engineer by training Clare has a diverse experience working in the offshore energy sector in a variety of roles in utilities, manufacturing and consulting. Her know-how spans technical, commercial, environmental and policy aspects.

Beginning her career with ScottishPower Renewables Clare founded their marine energy team. She was responsible for technical management of SPR investments in wave and tidal technologies as well as supporting project developments. This included investment in the Hammerfest Strom tidal technology in addition to deployment of Pelamis Wave Power technology in Orkney. She also developed a broad portfolio of wave and tidal energy technology sites in the UK waters and beyond.

Clare has had an active role in supporting the growth of the marine renewables industry from developing standards, setting research priorities and developing appropriate regulatory frameworks.


Keith Clarke

John Beswick
Keith Clarke, Vice President, Institution of Civil Engineers

Keith trained as an architect in Brighton and has a Masters degree in Urban Planning from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. While in the US, he worked for the New York City government in economic development.

Later Keith was Vice President of Planning for Olympia & York and worked on phase two of Canary Wharf and Heron Quay. He then went on to work at Trafalgar House. His experience also includes construction project in the UK, Poland, Czech Republic, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East. Following his retirement as Chief Executive at WS Atkins in 2011, Keith has held a number of positions, including:

  • Chair – Tidal Lagoon(Swansea Bay) Plc
  • Chair – Forum for the Future
  • Vice Chair – Future Cities Catapult
  • Non-Executive Director – Sirius Minerals Plc
  • Visiting Professor for Sustainable Design – Aston University
  • Trustee – EngineeringUK
  • Advisory Board Member – Environmental Change Institute, Oxford