EU funds open sea testing of ocean energy technology

Illustration (Photo: EMEC)

EU has launched an €11 million initiative that will provide funding support to ocean energy technology developers to access Europe’s world-leading ocean energy test facilities.

The initiative dubbed FORESEA (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action) will unite European ocean energy test centres to help demonstration of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real-sea conditions.

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), FORESEA will offer a series of funding and business development support packages to TRL 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.

The testing facilities participating in the project are EMEC (Orkney Islands, UK); SmartBay (Galway, Ireland); SEM-REV (Nantes, France); and Tidal Testing Centre (Den Oever, Netherlands).

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

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “This programme shows the added value of European cooperation. If we are to help ocean energy on a path towards commercialisation, countries as well as companies will have to work together to overcome joint challenges.”

Oliver Wragg, Commercial Director, at EMEC, said: “Europe is currently leading the world in ocean energy development. The FORESEA programme will help cement this lead by stimulating a critical mass of technology development activity, bridging the gap between ocean renewables R&D and the marketplace, whilst neatly building on existing EU initiatives currently supporting wave and tidal energy technology development across Europe.”

Wragg added that the FORESEA project is expected to decrease the investors uncertainty in ocean energy technologies as the Europe’s most promising ocean energy innovators test their technologies in real-sea conditions, which will help bring in private investments in the sector.

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “This year we are seeing pre-commercial ocean energy farms hit the water in Europe, ahead of anywhere else in the world. The industry and its partners need to continue to build on this momentum by bringing new technologies to market through research, demonstration and innovation activities.

“FORESEA provides an important piece of the puzzle for doing just that, and we will look forward to working with our colleagues at Europe’s leading open sea test centres to make this programme a success.”

The project is funded by the Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) programme, part of the European Regional Development Fund.

The test centres will be supported by Ocean Energy Europe, a Brussels-based industry group representing the renewable ocean energy sector in Europe.

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