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Powered by the ocean, made in Europe

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Spurred by ambitious targets for offshore renewables and by the recent deployments, the European ocean energy sector met in Brussels for a two-day conference, despite increasing COVID restrictions. Featuring some of the most important news and updates from the sector and time to meet each other at the exhibition.

Why Europe goes tidal

Today Europe is home to the most advanced technology so far. During the conference, the advantages were clearly presented.

  • Summer, winter, night, or day: energy from water is always available and predictable

  • It is complementary to wind and sun both in terms of space and energy production profiles

  • The action is mainly beneath sea level so no visual intrusion in the landscape

  • Climate change mitigation (generating energy from sustainable sources) can be combined with climate change adaptation (flood protection and coastal protection)

  • A new industry adds value to the entire supply chain and creates new jobs

Meet 3 flagships: watts in the water

During the presentations and visiting the stands, it was hard not to be blown out of the water by seeing technologies at work, sometimes under volatile conditions. And yes in stunning coastal sceneries. Take a look at what some of the leading parties are doing.

1. Corpower: clean energy from our oceans

CorPower Ocean brings reliable and competitive wave energy technology to the world. The Wave Energy Converters (WECs) offer survivability in the toughest storm conditions combined with efficient harvesting of electricity in normal wave conditions. The technology has shown breakthrough results through a structured five-stage product verification program, bringing a step-change improvement to the structural efficiency and competitiveness of wave energy.

2. Turning the Tide: Orbital's Mission

Have a look at this technologically advanced tidal turbine. Orbital is on a mission to provide millions of people across the world with a sustainable, reliable, predictable source of clean energy.

3. Minesto: tapping into the abundant slow currents

Minesto's "Deep Green" technology produces electricity from slow tidal streams and ocean currents by a unique principle. By sweeping a small turbine across a large area, at a speed several times the actual speed of the underwater current, Minesto's subsea kite enhances the energy conversion compared to other technologies. As a result, it is applicable in areas where no other known technology can operate cost-effectively.

Other flagship projects

Progress of several other major developers was also presented, such as wave energy developers Wavepiston from Denmark, SINN Power and BlueX by Mocean Energy, and tidal energy developers Sabella and Hydroquest from France, Magallanes from Spain.

Dutch contributions

Water management is our middle name. So the Dutch took to the stage as well.

  • Bluespring presented 4 pilots from the ENCORE project (Energising coasts with offshore renewable energy) to show how innovations are brought to market and how to involve the supply chain.

  • Teamwork Technology shared the value of having MultiMetaal onboard as a strategic investor with experience in working offshore under the highest standards.

  • Slow Mill Sustainable Power BV strives to be the best in class when it comes to ocean protection, boosting biodiversity around its foundations.

  • SeaQurrent® -like Minesto- targets the slower and more abundant slow currents. However, thanks to its horizontal trajectory, it can operate even in shallow water, for example, in-between offshore wind turbines.

  • Climate change mitigation meets change climate adaptation with the dam-integrated solution by Water2Energy.

  • Diane Dhomé from Inyanga Marine Projects explained why the "Tocardo BV turbines are probably the most reliable tidal turbines in the world” during her presentation about the HydroWing installation concept.

Taking stock

One thing is clear: The sector is ready to balance the European energy system with energy from the sea to the coastal regions. Our aim as a sector is to help European countries achieve their net-zero targets in 2050.

"Ocean energy is part of a truly European story. We are convinced that with the right framework & investment choices, the 100MW ocean energy target can be achieved."

Kadri Simson | EU Commissioner for Energy

By taking the lead in the global ocean energy market, Europe will benefit from economic activity worth €140bn by 2050, according to a new report ‘A European Ocean Energy Industry – the €140bn Economic Opportunity’, launched during the conference.

"Balancing the energy system with ocean energy. The key is stability of the energy system and complementarity of energy sources. That's why ocean energy is so important."

Virginijus Sinkevičius | Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Where do we go from here?

European Policy has successfully taken the first generation of renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, to commercially competitive levels. We need other technologies such as blue energy technologies to further diversify its low-carbon generation capacity if we are to meet net-zero targets.

The European Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy sets a new ambition level including targets for offshore renewable energy. The HorizonEurope program, the EU Innovation Fund, and INTERREG programs will be instrumental to realizing these targets.

It is key that the Member States and regions adopt similar targets and provide a supportive framework for the implementation of innovative pilot projects and future roll-out. Furthermore, national support is essential for projects submitted for European funding programs.

A very positive sign was the recent announcement from the UK government to ringfence 20m UKP per year to deploy tidal and wave energy projects in the UK under the Contract for Difference program. The sector hopes other governments will follow.

"We work hard at water management and at renewable energy from water. We have to make people aware that integrated solutions is win-win for both sides."

Peter Scheijgrond | CEO Bluespring

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