According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.”
Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, where 80% of the area is classified as offshore. The EEZ is a sea area for which a coastal state holds sovereign rights to explore and use its natural marine resources across a range of marine activities. Significantly, over 85% of Australia’s population lives within 50km of the coast. This provides a unique opportunity to boost an emerging renewable energy sector that promises a highly effective means to decarbonise coastal businesses, industries, and communities. Australia is well placed to demonstrate to the world the true economic, social and environmental value of Ocean Energy.
While ocean energy is following near-identical development pathways as solar, onshore, offshore wind, battery storage, green hydrogen production and other forms of renewable energy generation and storage technologies, demand for ocean energy technologies continues to be elusive.
While global “supply” in the ocean energy sector includes a diversity of innovative wave and tidal technologies, along with corresponding technology development support mechanisms and growing supply chains in different countries, little to no customer demand exists for these technologies, as yet, particularly in an Australian context. The general lack of awareness of the potential benefits of ocean energy and its value as an energy solution within market end user groups, is what sustains this overall lack of demand.
Given its mission of ‘accelerating commercialisation of ocean energy in Australia’, AOEG acknowledges that commercialisation cannot be achieved unless customer demand exists. While AOEG’s premise is that Australia’s Blue Economy businesses, communities and industries are the right near-term customer focus for ocean energy development, there is little existing data to verify that assumption. AOEG established its Ocean Energy Market Investigation program to provide evidence that potential demand for ocean energy exists, identify potential early-adopter customers, and identify the constraints and opportunities to accelerate its uptake.
AOEG completed the first phase of its Market Investigation in June 2022. The study approach and results are summarised in this report. AOEG conducted its Ocean Energy Market Investigation program to provide evidence that potential demand for ocean energy exists, identify potential early-adopter customers and identify the constraints and opportunities to accelerate its uptake. Validating AOEG’s assumption about the potential markets for ocean energy in Australia – local governments representing Blue Economy communities (eg, coastal locations), ports and aquaculture were identified as key target markets.
This inaugural study documented a clear interest by these markets to learn more about ocean energy and identified gaps in information/data required to increase uptake of this nascent source of renewable energy.
In particular, markets and end users need the following information to provide confidence when considering investment in and adoption of ocean energy:
- Costs/benefits of an ocean energy system relative to an end-user’s current energy business model
- Capital costs/comparative analysis of energy costs and corresponding business model
- Technology maturity or readiness
- Permitting and licensing requirements for ocean energy projects AOEG has an important opportunity to build capacity in ocean energy and promote the benefits of what it can deliver for the end-user.
This work further validates the development of the Integrated Ocean Energy Marketplace, AOEG’s ocean energy ‘showroom’, currently underway.