Ocean DEMO to Provide Funding for Ocean Energy Farms

The new Interreg NWE project Ocean DEMO, created to provide funding to developers of marine renewable technologies to test their products or services in real sea environments, has been officially launched on Monday.

CorPower C3 WEC and EMEC microgrid at EMEC Scapa Flow test site. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy of WES

Ocean DEMO specifically targets multi-machine ocean energy installations. Ocean DEMO will release a first call for applications this year and devices will be installed from 2020 to 2022.

The transition from single machine to pilot farm scale is critical for the future of the ocean energy sector. Scaling up to multi-device farms will improve the competitiveness of the technology by bringing down costs across the supply chain. This transition comes with higher capital requirements and investors require a proven business case before they get further involved.

Ocean DEMO will ease the transition towards pilot farms by providing free access to Europe’s network of open sea test centres: EMEC – European Marine Energy Centre, UK; DMEC – Dutch Marine Energy Centre, Netherlands; Centrale Nantes/SEM-REV – Site d’Expérimentation en Mer pour la Récupération de l’Énergie des Vagues, France; and SmartBay – Ireland.

Ocean DEMO follows on from the FORESEA project, which provides free access to open sea test centres for single machine testing.

Industry group Ocean Energy Europe will channel the project’s achievements and learnings to its international network of ocean energy professionals, ensuring broad dissemination across the sector.

Oliver Wragg, commercial director at EMEC, said: “We’re delighted to be able to continue the work we started with FORESEA. We were able to demonstrate a wide range of technologies throughout the ocean energy supply chain thanks to Interreg’s support and the efforts of all the project partners.

“With Ocean DEMO, we will be able to scale up technologies to pilot farm scale. This will reduce technical risks, minimize environmental impacts and improve the economic competitiveness of ocean energy production. We’re looking forward to collaborating with ocean energy innovators across Europe and help them get machines in the water.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “We are very happy about Interreg’s steady support for ocean energy development in Europe. The ocean energy industry can provide jobs to 400.000 Europeans as well as 10% of Europe’s electricity by 2050. Ocean DEMO will be another significant step towards those objectives. Multi-device demonstration will strengthen the technology’s business case and attract investors, which will in turn allow the industry to scale up and bring down costs.

“A revenue support system, feed-in tariff, Contract for Difference or similar, is the only thing we’re missing to unlock the full potential of ocean energy in Europe. It is now up to Member States to create the right conditions for this industry to thrive.”