EU Leads in Marine Renewables Development and Deployment
New technologies in the last decade have shown slow but steady progress of ocean and sea energy power.
About 30 tidal and 45 wave energy companies are currently at an advanced stage of technological development worldwide, many of them nearing pre-commercial array demonstration and others deploying full-scale prototypes in real-sea environment, according to a new JRC ocean energy status report.
The EU is at the forefront of technological development of ocean energy power plants, with more than 50% of tidal energy and 45% of wave energy developers based in the EU, as well as the majority of ocean energy infrastructure. The current pipeline of projects could bring Europe’s combined tidal and wave energy capacity up to 66 MW by 2018, a significant step forward for a nascent sector. The first tidal energy array is expected to be deployed in the UK in 2016, becoming the first ocean energy array project worldwide to be completed.
Ocean energy represents one of the few untapped renewable energy sources and its development is attracting the interests of policymakers, utilities and technology developers. In recent years, slow technological progress has hindered technology development and reduced investor confidence in ocean energy.
The JRC report analyses the sector, assessing the status of ocean energy technologies, ongoing developments, related policies and markets. In Europe, the highest deployment potential is located along the Atlantic coast, with further localised exploitable potential in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas and in the outermost regions (e.g. Reunion, Curacao).