Europe, Finance, Marine Energy

Revenue support is a must for the next phase of ocean energy development, report says

To attract investment for ocean energy farms, dedicated revenue support at a country level in Europe is essential, according to a report from ETIP Ocean. “Powering Homes Today, Powering Nations Tomorrow” analyzes the challenges the sector faces on the route to industrial roll-out and proposes four actions to overcome them.

Alongside revenue support, a model for “blended” public finance will allow the next round of ocean energy projects to reach financial close, the report says.

The report highlights ocean energy’s recent successes, with record volumes of electricity being supplied to the grid by tidal stream technology and several scale and full-sized wave devices going into the water. It reiterates ocean energy’s potential of providing 10% of Europe’s current electricity consumption by 2050.

“The technological progress made by ocean energy has been a true European success story, with project teams from across Europe collaborating within EU programs such as Horizon 2020 and Interreg,” said Donagh Cagney, Ocean Energy Europe’s policy director. “To unlock available EU support and private investment, we now call upon national governments to play their part and earmark revenue support specifically for ocean energy.”

Four key actions are required to bring ocean energy technologies from early stage to industrialization:

  • A European “stage-gate” program for R&D and prototypes, which “funnels” the most successful innovations, through a series of competitive calls;
  • National-level revenue support earmarked for ocean energy, so farms can repay debt or service equity from both private investors and public programs. This support can be via competitive auctions in reserved “pots,” feed-in tariffs or tax credits for private power purchase agreements;
  • A blend of programs to finance demonstration and pre-commercial farms, made up of revenue support, grant funding, public-supported equity, public-guaranteed loans and an Insurance & Guarantee Fund;
  • Environmental monitoring programs that produce comparable and consistent data, enabling licensing and consenting authorities to make better decisions on ocean energy deployments.

The European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (ETIP Ocean) is a recognized advisory body to the European Commission and is part of the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan). ETIP Ocean defines research and innovation priorities for the ocean energy sector and promote solutions to the industry, European and national policy makers.

Ocean Energy Europe is a network of more than 120 organizations, including utilities, industrialists and research institutes. Ocean Energy Europe’s objective is to create a strong environment for the development of ocean energy, improve access to funding and enhance business opportunities for its members.