Building an ocean energy industry in Europe will require innovative financing tools to channel public and private investment in the most efficient way, according to a report launched today.
The report, known as Ocean Energy Roadmap, was produced by the ocean energy sector at the request of the European Commission, through its Ocean Energy Forum initiative.
The Roadmap identifies the challenges facing the sector on its path to commercial readiness and puts forward four solutions to overcome them.
Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “Access to capital is the main challenge facing innovative sectors, especially in the demonstration phase, when investment needs increase and returns are not yet proven. Bridging the gap between risk-averse commercial lenders and public authorities with limited budgets requires re-thinking project finance.
“The Roadmap proposes just that, solutions fit for the purpose of reducing risk and unlocking capital: milestone-bound grant awards, guarantees and insurance. These, will allow projects to go in the water, speed up learnings and get the ocean energy sector to commercial readiness.”
The ocean energy sector and the Commission will now look at how to implement the innovative finance solutions presented, according to Ocean Energy Europe.
Ocean Energy Europe Co-Presidents Thierry Kalanquin from DCNS, and Simon de Pietro from DP Energy, handed the report – the Ocean Energy Roadmap – to European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries & Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella, who expressed his political support.
“The Commission asked us to come up with a plan for commercializing ocean energy in Europe, and the sector has delivered. We are now in discussions with the Commission, the EIB and Member States on implementing this plan in the near term.
“Ocean energy represents a significant opportunity for Europe: the creation a new, clean, indigenous, industry which could provide 10% of Europe’s electricity and 400 000 EU jobs by 2050. As the ocean itself, the ocean energy market reaches well beyond EU borders, and our technology leadership means we can dominate those export markets. The opportunity is real and Europe needs to seize it with both hands,” added Gruet.