FORESEA program will fund open sea MHK testing in Scotland

The US$12.2 million Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action (FORESEA) project brings together Europe’s leading marine hydrokinetic (MHK) energy test facilities to help demonstration of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real-sea conditions. The project is funded by the Interreg North-West Europe program, part of the European Regional Development Fund.

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the FORESEA project will provide funding support to ocean energy technology developers to access Europe’s world-leading ocean energy test facilities:

  • EMEC — Orkney Islands, UK;
  • SmartBay — Galway, Ireland;
  • SEM-REV — Nantes, France; and
  • Tidal Testing Centre — Den Oever, Netherlands.

The test centers will be supported by European industry group Ocean Energy Europe, based in Brussels.

The first call for applicants to apply for support packages is scheduled to be announced later this month.

Investors in the ocean energy sector want to see that technology has been proven to work in the sea and at scale before committing. However, the cost of pre-commercial demonstration of full scale ocean energy technology is high. This results in the so-called “valley-of-death” phenomenon and prevents products reaching the market.

To address this issue, FORESEA will offer a series of funding and business development support packages to technology readiness level 5+ ocean energy technology developers seeking to test and demonstrate in real-sea and grid-connected conditions, and leverage the further investment needed to take their product to market.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said, “This program shows the added value of European cooperation. If we are to help ocean energy on a path towards commercialization, countries as well as companies will have to work together to overcome joint challenges. The European Commission is encouraging this kind of cooperation, for example through the Ocean Energy Forum as well as programs such as this one.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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