Ocean Energy Europe welcomed the new European Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy, which clearly recognizes the massive industrial and environmental benefits that ocean energy can bring to Europe.
The commitment of the Strategy to support 100 MW of ocean energy projects in water by 2025 and at least 1 GW by 2030 will boost the sector in the coming decade.
The deployment goal of 40GW for 2050 provides a strong starting point for the long-term construction of the sector. That said the ocean energy industry has ambitions far beyond this target –and so should Europe.
There is no time to waste in mapping out precisely how the EU and member states are going to make this investment, so that Europe–and its ocean energy producers–can retain a competitive advantage.
“The message from the ocean energy sector is clear: we are more than ready for this. We are confident the case for ocean energy will be self- evident once 100MW has hit the water. The Strategy is an encouraging opening to the coming decade – what we need now is to transform aspirations into actions. Offshore renewables projects bring long-term benefits, but they also take time to get into the water – the ocean energy sector, the Commission and national governments need to roll up their sleeves and start implementing the Strategy right away.“Remi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe.
The revision of the State Aid guidelines to ensure that they are appropriate and allow for national support is another crucial component of the strategy. Demonstration programs for new technology should not undermine competition and should be expressly exempt from potential State aid laws.
The promised offshore renewable platform within the Clean Energy Industrial Forum (CEIF) will put together the right players from across Europe, but only with consistent deliverables and an efficient reporting framework will it be able to fulfill its goal.
The presence of high-level Member States is crucial. National governments are highly motivated to grow ocean energy, but they need to realize that they will not spend on their own and that their businesses will have a potential European market.
The CEIF will help to manage all of these issues.
The plan also emphasizes the importance of ocean connectivity and grid development for offshore renewables. A new framework for long-term offshore grid planning and consistent priorities in national maritime spatial plans would go a long way towards providing the kind of regulation and infrastructure that ocean energy needs to be rolled out.