A new action plan has been presented to facilitate the further development of the renewable ocean energy sector in Europe. A central element in this action plan will be to establish an Ocean Energy Forum, bringing together stakeholders to build capacity and foster cooperation.
The action plan should help drive forward this nascent ‘blue energy’ sector towards full industrialisation. Ocean energy covers all technologies to harvest the renewable energy of our seas and oceans other than offshore wind. Its exploitation would contribute to the decarbonisation of the EU’s economy and provide secure and reliable renewable energy to Europe.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: “As our Blue Growth strategy highlights, seas and oceans have the potential to generate huge economic growth and much-needed jobs. By helping the ocean energy sector to fully develop we can fulfil this potential through innovation while also securing clean, renewable energy for Europe.”
European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger said: “Ocean energy has a significant potential to enhance the security of supply. This Communication aims to contribute to promote technological innovation and to reach the Objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and beyond. Developing a wide portfolio of renewable energy sources including ocean energy also facilitates their integration in the European energy system.”
The ocean energy resource available globally exceeds our present and projected future energy needs. It could be harvested in many forms, for example through wave energy and tidal stream energy. Exploiting ocean energy would set the EU further on track to becoming a low-carbon economy and, by cutting EU dependence on fossil fuels, would enhance energy security.
Moreover, ocean energy could help to balance out the output of other renewable energy sources such as wind energy and solar energy to ensure a steady aggregate supply of renewable energy to the grid. In addition, ocean energy has the potential to create new, high quality jobs, particularly in Europe’s coastal areas which often suffer from high unemployment.
Despite its undoubted potential, this promising new sector is facing several challenges which need to be faced to support this emerging sector to reap significant economic and environmental benefits and become cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation:
technology costs are high and access to finance is difficult;
there are substantial infrastructure barriers, such as grid connection issues or access to adequate port facilities and specialised vessels;
there are administrative barriers such as complex licensing and consenting procedures, which can delay projects and raise costs;
and there are environmental issues to be faced, including the need for more research and better information on environmental impacts.
The Commission already supports several initiatives on ocean energy. This ocean energy action plan will create a forum to bring together existing knowledge and expertise, create synergies, provide creative solutions and drive the development of this sector forward. It is a tool to help the stakeholders to develop a Strategic Roadmap for the ocean energy sector, which could be the basis for a European Industrial Initiative at a later stage.
As the EU contemplates its energy and climate change policy beyond 2020, it is timely to explore all possible options in a sustained and collective effort to mitigate the effects of climate change and to diversify Europe’s portfolio of renewable energy sources. Supporting innovation in low-carbon energy technologies can help to tackle these challenges. No stone should be left unturned.
For ocean energy to deliver on its potential, the time is ripe to bring Member States, the industry and the Commission together to work in a collaborative manner to accelerate its development. EU action plan aims to guide further development of the ocean energy sector. Completion of this action plan in the period 2014-2017 should help the industrialisation of the sector, so that it can provide cost-effective, low-carbon electricity as well as new jobs and economic growth for the EU economy.
Common goals are best served through a coordinated and inclusive approach. Although today the ocean energy sector is relatively small, it could scale up in order to be in a position to contribute to economic growth and job creation in the EU.
The sector could also contribute to the EU’s 2050 greenhouse gas reduction ambitions if the right conditions are put in place now. By providing the necessary political impetus to this emerging sector, through the measures outlined above, ocean energy should, in the medium to long term, be able to achieve the necessary critical mass for its commercialisation and become another European industrial success story.
Read the action plan needed to deliver on the potentional of ocean energy in European seas and oceans by 2020 and beyond here
In the starting, I was outspoken with you propecia before and after has changed my being. It has become much more fun, and now I have to run. Just as it is improbable to sit.