Volume 3, Issue 1, 2020
Marfuga Iskandarova, Elena Simakova
Technologising the wave
constructing an energy resource in science and policy
Despite the recent shift from renewable energy to a low carbon policy, the UK policy discourse still recognises marine energy as part of the country’s future energy mix. Production of what we call an “assemblage” of technology and ocean waves triggers complex sets of initiatives that provide the basis for the economic viability and credibility of wave energy extraction. However, questions are rarely asked about how the natural phenomenon being part of this assemblage is construed as a resource to become a key element of promises and assessments of potential of renewable energy. This study sheds light on under-explored aspects of the credibility–economy and valuation practices formed around renewable energy that have not yet been problematised in social studies of energy. Arguing that ocean waves become an energy resource largely through resource assessment practices, we examine such practices in the context of the production of scientific and policy discourses around wave energy. Considering waves as an object of expertise, we examine how “wave data” constituted through measurements, statistical analysis, modelling and visualisation, contribute to the assessment and legitimisation of wave energy developments. We also evaluate the prospects for wave energy to be a “good” in future economic exchange.