Commissioner Vella: France well placed to be ocean energy frontrunner

“France is well placed to be an ocean energy frontrunner at global scale. This is thanks to good natural resources. But just as importantly, it is thanks to world-class marine engineers and visionary industrial entrepreneurs,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries at the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE). 

EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella at ICOE 2018; Image source: European Commission

Vella stated this as he announced he was attending the inauguration of Naval Energies’ tidal turbine plant today, June 14, saying the choice of location is no coincidence. The country has good natural resources and world-class marine engineers and visionary industrial entrepreneurs, Vella said.

“And as politicians, whether national or European, I believe it is our duty to support these types of forward-looking investment decisions to the best of our abilities,” Karmenu Vella said.

Commissioner Vella further said that tidal and wave energy technologies are now at a stage where they can move from research towards deployment and that it is time for these technologies “to move from ‘learning by research’ to ‘learning by doing’.”

The European Commission is determined to support the move, according to Karmenu Vella, who referred to three areas where the EU is taking action to create confidence for investors and reduce costs. These include direct funding of technological developments and test centres, opening up new types of financial support to the ocean energy sector, and encouraging investment from private sources by putting in place supportive regulatory conditions.

Vella concluded his speech at ICOE 2018 by saying that ocean energy is not the future, but it is already here. “It is already driving research agendas and investment decisions. And it is already part of the European Union’s political agenda. Together we are creating a new reality. A reality of clean energy from the seas. And you can count on the European Union to support you in that aim.”