Ocean energy has the potential to play a significant role in the future energy system, whilst contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and stimulating economic growth in coastal and remote areas. Ocean energy has attracted increasing interest, particularly in the EU, which is currently at the forefront of ocean energy development.
Tidal and Wave energy represents the two most advance types of ocean energy technologies. In the EU, the aim is to reach 100 GW of combined wave and tidal capacity installed by 2050. In order to achieve these targets the sector needs to overcome a series of challenges and barriers with regards to technology readiness, financing and market establishment, administrative and environmental issues and the availability of grid connections especially in remote areas. Currently these barriers are hindering the sector’s progress; its ability to attract inwards investments and to engage with the supply chain to unlock cost-reduction mechanisms. A number of policy initiatives and mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that ocean energy technologies could become cost-competitive in the short term, in order to exploit the benefits that these technologies could provide to the EU.
- Over 50% of global RD&D investments in ocean energy are taking place within the EU.
- The EU has implemented support mechanisms to aid the development of ocean energy.
- 66 MW of ocean energy projects in the EU are expected to become operational by 2018.
- First tidal energy demonstration array is expected to become operational by 2016.
- Technology issues are the main barrier the sector needs to address in the short term.