Illustration/French developer Sabella deploying its tidal energy turbine (Courtesy of Ocean Energy Europe)

137 MW of wave and tidal energy capacity to seek deployment offshore Europe in next five years

Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) has announced that EU funding and domestic revenue support are expected to facilitate the deployment of 137 MW of tidal and wave energy projects over the next five years.

Illustration/French developer Sabella deploying its tidal energy turbine (Courtesy of Ocean Energy Europe)

France and the UK, both prominent players in the tidal energy market, have introduced per/kWh support for tidal farms. This marks progress, but maintaining the UK’s contracts for difference (CfD) ringfence and executing the commercial tidal tenders as announced by French President Macron are steps to solidify the sector’s industrialization, according to OEE’s report of the latest statistics about the ocean energy sector.

Consequently, the funding has attracted investment and partnerships from several “energy majors”, kick-starting the sector’s industrialization, said OEE.

The lack of market exposure in previous years continues to influence deployment figures in 2023. However, with new revenue support at the national level, the prospects have improved. On May 7, 2024, OEE unveiled the latest statistics about the ocean energy sector, showing the sector’s acceleration in 2023. 

Wave energy technology is reaching technological readiness, evidenced by increased private investments in ongoing projects. Continued EU funding has been instrumental in enhancing full-scale prototypes and spurring the first pilot farms. 

Nevertheless, for wave energy to achieve widespread success similar to wind and solar energy, it will require comparable national financial support across Europe, said OEE.

As expected, improved market visibility at the national level, along with technological advancements has drawn attention from the private sector. Major energy players are either developing their ocean energy technologies or collaborating on existing projects. Private investments in the sector surged by 75% in 2023, according to OEE.

“Revenue support at national level creates bankability for projects and market visibility for investors. It is the main driver for private investments, a message OEE has been consistently passing and which is once again reflected in facts and figures. Coupled with EU-level investment support – still needed for pilot and pre-commercial projects – it is kick-starting the industrialisation of the sector,” said Rémi Gruet, CEO of OEE. 

“The CfD ringfence for tidal in the UK needs to be maintained, and the commercial calls for tidal energy announced by President Macron now need to be enacted. Revenue support for wave needs to be put forward, especially in Portugal, Spain and Ireland. This will ensure investors keep putting projects in the water, reduce costs, and make ocean energy into the home-grown industry it can be.“