A new European Commission action plan seeks to further development of Europe's ocean energy sector.
Per a scheme presented earlier this week by Commissioners Maria Damanaki and Gunther Oettinger, the EC would establish an "Ocean Energy Forum" meant to bring together marine and hydrokinetics (MHK) stakeholders to "build capacity and foster cooperation".
The EC said "all technologies to harvest the renewable energy of our seas and oceans" would be covered -- excluding offshore wind power -- in an effort to decarbonize EU emissions and "provide secure and reliable renewable energy to Europe".
"As our 'Blue Growth' strategy highlights, seas and oceans have the potential to generate huge economic growth and much-needed jobs," Damanaki said. "By helping the ocean energy sector to fully develop, we can fulfill this potential through innovation while also securing clean, renewable energy for Europe."
The EC notes MHK's "undoubted potential", but said a number of challenges currently face the sector, including:
- High technology costs;
- Difficulty in accessing financing;
- Infrastructure barriers;
- Administrative barriers; and
- Environmental issues.
Still, Oettinger said the potential for ocean power cannot be ignored as EU members look to bolster their renewable portfolios.
"Ocean energy has a significant potential to enhance the security of supply," Oettinger said. "Developing a wide portfolio of renewable energy sources including ocean energy also facilitates their integration in the European energy system."
For more information about the EC's action plan, visit here.
Europe is already arguably the world's leader in MHK implementation and research, with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) near Scotland's Orkney Islands long established as an international player in the sector.
Other European MHK projects include proposals for Raz Blanchard and Brittany off the French coast, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in South Wales, and generating unit research in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough, amongst others.
For more MHK news, visit here.