EU: Ocean energy investment benefits outweigh risks


European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs has called the banks to take on the initial risks of investing in ocean energy stating that the advantages of investing in the sector ‘have to be communicated to lenders so they can realise that the financial risks are outweighed by the benefits.’

During Ocean Energy Europe Conference in Dublin, the Commissioner Karmenu Vella (pictured) told the delegates that like any new industry, the ocean energy industry also requires high levels of upfront capital.

Vella compared the emerging ocean energy sector with wind and solar sectors that required a lot of private and public funding for the initial take off, saying that the cost of wind turbines dropped 30% since 2009, which Vella estimates will happen for the ocean energy sector as well.

Vella said: “There is a case to be made both for private and public investment but this requires farsightedness. Banks, in particular, must get to know an unfamiliar sector, and accept to take on some of the initial risks. And when the risks are higher, the role of public financing becomes more important.”

He highlighted the funding instruments made available by the EU that can be used to support ocean energy, including Horizon 2020, regional funds, and the European Fund for Structural Investments.

Vella added: “My services are also talking to the European Investment Bank. Earlier this month, I have organised a workshop that brought the ocean energy industry and the Bank together. I want to make ocean energy more prominent in the Bank’s operations in the future.”

Vella also said that cooperation in the sector is essential in the early stages of development because sharing knowledge, data and experience would improve the competitiveness of the sector as a whole.

He urged for the finalization of the strategic roadmap by the middle of the next year which is expected to outline the specific actions that have to be taken to drive the sector forward.

Image: EU Parliament/Illustration

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