The summer of 2023 saw new record-high temperature extremes set across the planet, with the shared impacts of climate change becoming increasingly frequent, severe and deadly. Many global governments and institutions are now in agreement that the world is situated in the critical decade for climate action, and as a result, the scientific consensus for a rapid and comprehensive response to mitigate the worst outcomes of the climate crisis has become the defining challenge of our lifetimes. In this moment, there has never been a stronger or clearer case for the transformation of the global energy system in line with Net Zero requirements. The recent International Energy Agency (IEA) Net Zero Roadmap makes it clear that transforming the global energy system in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C will be a challenge that is addressed across multiple fronts. The IEA Net Zero Roadmap also identifies that there will need to be at least a tripling of global installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, coupled with future-proofing of infrastructure and supply chains, to achieve this goal.
With this target in mind, Ocean Energy Systems (OES), the IEA’s Technology Collaboration Programme for ocean energy, is publishing its own roadmap, with the aim of outlining the steps that will be required to unlock the significant potential of the global wave and tidal stream energy sectors, enabling them to contribute to global Net Zero commitments.
This report will quantify the level of financial investment, delivered via sustained policy support, that will be required to ensure that these emerging renewable technologies achieve commercial deployment on a global scale. This report will pay particular attention to the impact of market pull and technology push policy mechanisms and the role that they play in accelerating innovation across the wave and tidal stream sector, while maintaining cost-effective levels of investment. This report will also consider how the construction or upgrading of existing ports and harbors to accommodate for a range of key ocean energy infrastructure and future development metrics should be approached, culminating in a future scenario case study detailing port infrastructure requirements for the mid 2040s. Finally, this report will examine the regulatory and legislative frameworks that govern both the design and development of ocean energy standards and the licensing and consenting of ocean energy technologies, examining how their evolution and future design should be supported to ensure that this growing sector receives sustained levels of support.
This roadmap will make clear that without global collaboration, sustained financial support and immediate action, the pathway towards achieving a globally commercial ocean energy sector will be increasingly difficult to follow. The political will, the societal momentum and the economic argument for a radically transformed global energy system, where ocean energy plays a vital role, has coalesced into a resounding challenge for action. The following summary of the key results from the IEA-OES Roadmap, coupled with the policy actions collated at the end of this report, will illustrate clearly how the ocean energy sector can hope to embrace and overcome this challenge.