EU must step up its game to meet ocean energy targets, OEE warns
Time is running out for the European Union to meet its 100MW ocean energy deployment target by 2025, the industry association Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) has warned, stating however that there is still enough time to reach the targets with the appropriate and timely action.
A new OEE report states that the implementation of EU’s Offshore Renewables Strategy has been ‘sluggish’ to date, noting that the secure, decarbonized and affordable energy is a top EU priority which should be reflected in the timely enactment of the strategy.
According to OEE, governments around the world have recently stepped up the development of ocean energy, via revenue support in the UK and Canada, a €500 million package in the United States, and deployment plans in China’s 5-Year Plan.
The association states that Europe has not matched the pace and risks losing its competitive advantage, emphasizing also that more than enough European ocean energy projects are lined up – just a few crucial funding and coordination actions are needed to get them in the water.
However, the good news is that the targets set in the strategy can still be achieved, according to OEE, which outlined the action plan in its latest report.
The action plan focuses on using existing tools and processes, namely improving the funding available to ocean energy, making it easier to access, and improving coordination with Member States, as promised in the strategy.
Programs such as Horizon Europe, Innovation Fund and the successor to InnovFin EDP should be leveraged to get pilot farms in the water, OEE said.
The EU also has the power to encourage the inclusion of ocean energy projects in new National Energy & Climate Plans, to align sea basin planning to enable ocean energy projects, and to organize meetings amongst relevant civil servants at both European and national levels, the association pointed out.
Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, called on the EU institutions to make sure the Strategy’s promises are kept, saying: “Ocean energy targets in the offshore strategy are exactly what Europe needs right now – it’s clean and home-grown, and can create hundreds of thousands of jobs. But implementation is just as important. If Europe wants to stay out in front, it needs to act now. This report provides a clear ‘To-Do List’ to achieve this without re-inventing the wheel.”
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