The value of delay in tidal energy development
Despite robust research, prototype development and demonstration of in-stream tidal energy devices, progress to the commercialization stage has been slow. Some of this can be attributed to a lack readiness or financing. However, when uncertainty is high, a developer may choose to delay a project until more is known. The option to delay has value for a company. This study applies the real option valuation model to an investment in a 10MW array of in-stream tidal energy conversion devices at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada. The values of investing and the option to delay are calculated. A sensitivity analysis of key drivers and scenarios with various input values to the option model are constructed to observe the impact on the 'invest versus delay' decision. The analysis suggests there is value in owning the option to develop, by leasing a FORCE berth, but waiting while uncertainty is resolved. Implications for policy-setting are discussed.
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