Karmenu Vella: EC fully behind the development of ocean energy
Ocean energy is a batch of hugely promising technologies that could replicate the successes of offshore wind, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said.
Speaking at the International Conference on Ocean Energy in Edinburgh, Commissioner Vella stressed the European Commission’s strong backing for ocean energy, an industry ‘destined for success’.
Vella talked about the challenge of acquiring upfront financing for ocean energy projects, stating that the energy from oceans is bound to get cheaper in the long term.
Vella said: “We must think in the long term. Utilities, in particular, must get to know an unfamiliar sector, and they must accept to take on some of the risks. When the technology is new and the risks are high, public financing is incredibly important. Many governments have made resources available, and this is a very good thing. But I would urge the government representatives in this room to make sure one thing: don’t ask for projects to fit your funding – make the funding fit the projects.”
He also encouraged participants to contribute to the work of the Ocean Energy Forum, set up by the European Commission in 2014.
The Ocean Energy Forum brings together industry and the public sector to pool resources and address uncertainties surrounding issues like financing or planning and consenting.
The Forum is preparing an ‘Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap’ – a blueprint for the ocean energy sector and the basis for more specific action plans.
A first draft was presented in Dublin in October 2015, and the Forum aims to complete the roadmap by spring this year.
Commissioner Vella therefore urged conference-goers to take part in the discussions at the Forum’s meeting in Edinburgh this week.