New European Program to Fund Open Sea Testing for Ocean Energy

Ocean energy

The €11 million (US $12 million) FORESEA project brings together Europe’s leading ocean energy test facilities to help demonstration of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real-sea conditions. The project is funded by the Interreg NWE (North-West Europe) programme, part of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the FORESEA (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action) project will provide funding support to ocean energy technology developers to access Europe’s world-leading ocean energy test facilities:

The test centres will be supported by European industry group Ocean Energy Europe, based in Brussels.

The first call for applicants to apply for support packages is scheduled to be announced later this month.

Investors in the ocean energy sector want to see that technology has been proven to work in the sea and at scale before committing. However, the cost of pre-commercial demonstration of full scale ocean energy technology is high. This results in the so-called “valley-of-death” phenomenon and prevents products reaching the market.

To address this issue, FORESEA will offer a series of funding and business development support packages to TRL 5+ ocean energy technology developers seeking to test and demonstrate in real-sea and grid-connected conditions, and leverage the further investment needed to take their product to market.

“This programme shows the added value of European cooperation. If we are to help ocean energy on a path towards commercialisation, countries as well as companies will have to work together to overcome joint challenges. The European Commission is encouraging this kind of cooperation, for example through the Ocean Energy Forum as well as programmes such as this one”, according to Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries.

 

Oliver Wragg, Commercial Director, at EMEC said,“Europe is currently leading the world in ocean energy development. The FORESEA programme will help cement this lead by stimulating a critical mass of technology development activity, bridging the gap between ocean renewables R&D and the marketplace, whilst neatly building on existing EU initiatives currently supporting wave and tidal energy technology development across Europe”.

“The cost of pre-commercial testing and demonstration for ocean energy is high and investors are generally reluctant to invest until the technology has been proven in the sea at scale. FORESEA will provide financial assistance to Europe’s most promising ocean energy innovators and help them ‘get metal wet’, get their technologies tested in real-sea conditions and get private investment flowing into the sector.

“We’re delighted to be leading this programme, and are looking forward to working with our partners in Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium to help tidal, wave and wind energy developers prove their technologies in Europe’s seas”.

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe had the following to say about the programme:

“We are very happy to support the FORESEA programme as it will help plot a route to market for a range of technologies in the ocean energy sector.

“The size of the prize for commercialising ocean energy is huge. In Europe alone, the industry plans to deploy 100GW of generation capacity by 2050, meeting 10% of Europe’s electricity demand. Not only does this mean generating clean and secure renewable energy, it also means creating a new industrial sector based firmly in Europe.

“This year we are seeing pre-commercial ocean energy farms hit the water in Europe, ahead of anywhere else in the world. The industry and its partners need to continue to build on this momentum by bringing new technologies to market through research, demonstration and innovation activities. FORESEA provides an important piece of the puzzle for doing just that, and we will look forward to working with our colleagues at Europe’s leading open sea test centres to make this programme a success.”

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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