(20 January 2014) – The European Commission today presented a new action plan 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.
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. Despite its undoubted potential, this promising new sector is facing several challenges:
- 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.