Photo: OceanBased Perpetual Energy President Nasser Alshemaimry (right) with OceanBased Vice President David House evaluate ocean current energy converter performance merits.
In an August 11, 2020 news release, Ocean Energy Europe noted that the new EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy must include a target of 100MW of ocean energy installed in Europe by 2025. This would be enough to power 100,000 European homes a year, and would pave the way for installing 3GW by 2030 and 100GW by 2050. This target would provide the political impetus and incentives needed to maintain Europe’s position as the global leader in ocean energy and create a new industry for Europe.
Unlike OceanBased Perpetual Energy, which derives power from the ocean current in Florida’s Gulf Stream, the EU plan uses mostly tidal power, OceanBased Vice President David House explained. “While much of tidal system components are similar to ocean current energy conversion, the turbine used are similar in each application. For ocean current, they are configured for constant lower velocity flow versus a higher, but intermittent velocity for tidal power. OceanBased Perpetual Energy’s model applies an umbilical tether versus a rigid base affixed to the seafloor in tidal power arrays. Each uses the similar substations and submarine cable.”
Insofar as the EU plan, four priority actions are needed to achieve it, according to Ocean Energy Europe. First on the list is the formation of a pan-European alliance of EU decision-makers, national governments and industry representatives. The alliance would be tasked with accelerating the sector’s development by providing access to national revenue support and making it easier to secure project sites.
Secondly, earmarking €300 million for ocean energy research and innovation over the next 5 years will support the EU’s green recovery objectives, cut technology costs and get planned projects into the water.
The third action, setting up a European insurance & guarantee fund, will also reduce project risks and make it easier for developers to access private finance.
The final recommendation is to develop an export strategy for offshore renewable technologies. A blend of European Investment Bank financing and guarantees for export-ready projects will make sure that Europe holds onto its world-leading position in ocean energy.
The importance of public support in kick-starting projects and encouraging private investment to create a truly commercial industry cannot be overstated. Since 2007, every €1 of EU & national public funding for ocean energy has leveraged €2.9 of private investments in the sector.
Remi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe commented: “This target is entirely achievable. There is a strong pipeline of projects lined up along Europe’s coasts – all that’s needed now is the right policy and market environment to deliver them. The new EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy is a huge opportunity for Europe to achieve a recovery that is both green and just.”