Electricity production in 2050 will need to be emissions-free, low cost and flexible. To reach that objective, we will need demand-side management, storage and most importantly, all flexible renewables at our disposal – whether established already or still innovative today.
Europe’s ocean energy resource is considerable. By 2050, ocean energy can deliver 100GW of capacity – equivalent to 10% of Europe’s electricity consumption today.
Flexible and predictable, ocean energy complements variable renewables such as wind or solar, that will dominate Europe’s electricity system in 2050. Ocean energy will play an important role in smoothing production peaks and balancing Europe’s electricity grid.
By 2050, the ocean energy sector will employ 400,000 Europeans, ensuring a just transition to a decarbonised economy. Europe’s technological advantage in ocean energy will ensure European companies a large share of a strong global market, as they do on offshore wind.
With zero carbon emissions, ocean energy will help tackle climate change and achieve a cleaner, more sustainable and more prosperous Europe.
Ocean energy technologies have reached different stages in their development:
- Wave energy is at full-scale prototype stage
- Tidal energy is already at demonstration stage with first pilot farms
- OTEC and salinity gradient are at R&I stage, and tidal range can be rolled out.
For each of these stages, this Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda (SRIA) identifies the main ‘Challenge Areas’ that will deliver the greatest cost reductions. For each Challenge Area, a number of ‘Priority Topics’ are presented, identifying what the ocean energy sector should work on during the next period of 4-5 years.