Ocean Energy Europe has published its annual statistics on the developments of the ocean energy sector.
The report shows that Europe continues to lead the world in ocean energy deployments. In 2018, European tidal stream installations reached 26.8MW, and wave energy installations 11.3MW.
Europe remains the world leader in wave energy installations, but the rest of the world is catching up in tidal stream: tidal power installations outside Europe increased from zero in 2015 to a total of 6.7MW between 2016 and 2018.
To stay out in front and get projects over the line, the European sector needs revenue support at national level. Ocean Energy Europe’s CEO, Rémi Gruet, emphasised the importance of such incentives. “The power, and learnings, produced by ocean energy technologies in recent years clearly show that it is possible to generate large quantities of electricity from the sea. What we now need to reach industrialisation is revenue support – just like other renewables, and indeed fossil fuels, have also received.”
Tidal stream technology is now proving itself as a reliable and predictable source of energy. After a decade of steadily increasing generation, power production has shifted up a gear in the past two years and produced record volumes of electricity last year. Since 2013, 34 gigawatt-hours of electricity has been produced by tidal stream in Europe – enough to power more than 9,000 homes over the same period.
Wave energy is also set to continue its promising development: the latest wave energy projects to hit the water are proving that these devices are surviving well in harsh conditions, paving the way for larger, more powerful versions in 2019.
On the 10th of April, ETIP Ocean published a new report ‘Powering Homes Today, Powering Nations Tomorrow’, putting a spotlight on the ocean energy technology’s progress over the past 2 years, and setting out clear actions to bring ocean energy to the point of industrial roll-out.
‘Powering Homes Today, Powering Nations Tomorrow’ analyses the challenges faced by the sector and proposes four actions to overcome them. The report also highlights ocean energy’s recent successes, with record volumes of power being supplied to the grid by tidal stream technology, and several promising scale and full-sized wave devices going into the water. It reiterates ocean energy’s potential of providing 10% of Europe’s current electricity consumption by 2050.
Ocean Energy Europe’s Policy Director, Donagh Cagney said: “The technological progress made by ocean energy has been a true European success story with project teams from across Europe collaborating within EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Interreg. To unlock available EU support and private investment, we now call upon national governments to play their part and earmark revenue support specifically for ocean energy.”
Four key actions are required, at European and national level, to bring ocean energy technologies from early stage to industrialisation:
- A European ‘stage-gate’ programme for R&D and prototypes, which ‘funnels’ the most successful innovations, through a series of competitive calls;
- National-level revenue support earmarked for ocean energy, so that farms can repay debt or service equity from both private investors and public programmes. This support can be via competitive auctions in reserved ‘pots’, Feed-In-Tariffs, or tax credits for private Power Purchase Agreements;
- A blend of programmes to finance demonstration and pre-commercial farms, made up of revenue support, grant funding, public-supported equity, public-guaranteed loans, and an Insurance & Guarantee Fund. EU schemes address some but not all of these requirements – e.g. InnovFin EDP.
- Environmental monitoring programmes that produce comparable and consistent data, enabling licensing and consenting authorities to make better decisions on ocean energy deployments.
You can download the report here.
Following the successful completion of the original project, the European Commission has funded the ETIP Ocean to continue its work until at least 2022.
And just like the ocean energy sector, ETIP Ocean is growing and evolving. This next phase has bigger and bolder ambitions. In 2019 alone, the platform will deliver a new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda as well as accessible reports showcasing the latest knowledge on the sector’s environmental impact.
The ETIP Ocean webinars and workshops will also continue, with a new series of dates and topics to be announced shortly. These will allow all players in the sector to gain valuable insight on the key technical, financial, social & economic challenges that they face every day.
Work will shortly start on a new study quantifying the ocean energy’s economic impact in Europe. ETIP Ocean will also explore the sector’s social impact, with a separate socio-economic study and best practices on local community engagement.
There will also be intensive communication and dissemination activity, to ensure that the entire sector knows about and benefits of the platform.
Collectively, these actions will ensure that ETIP Ocean delivers on its core purpose:
- To provide quality expertise for the European Commission and other funding agencies. ETIP Ocean will gather inputs and recommendations from the sector, that industry associations such as Ocean Energy Europe can communicate.
- To help players in the sector to get the maximum value from sharing experiences, learnings and knowledge with their colleagues.
The consortium behind the project has also been strengthened. Tecnalia and WavEC bring fresh insight and expertise to the platform, joining original partners Ocean Energy Europe and the University of Edinburgh.
The next 3 years promise to be exciting for both the sector and ETIP Ocean, with plenty of opportunities to share experiences with your ocean energy colleagues via webinars, workshops and publications. We look forward to engaging with you soon!
ETIP Ocean project partners and the European Commission held their kick-off meeting in Brussels on Tuesday 15 January