|14 July 2016|

Europe

European ocean energy technology developers facing financial challenges in getting their product to market will be able to access a new €11m fund set up to support them commercialise more easily.

The €11m FORESEA project brings together Europe’s leading ocean energy test facilities for the demonstration of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real-sea conditions. The project is funded by the Interreg NWE (North-West Europe) programme, part of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the FORESEA (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action) the project will provide funding support to ocean energy technology developers to access Europe’s world-leading ocean energy test facilities, located in Scotland, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

Investors in the ocean energy sector want to see that technology has been proven to work in the sea and at scale before committing. But the cost of pre-commercial demonstration of full scale ocean energy technology is high and often 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 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.

Commenting on the project launch, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs & 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. The European Commission is encouraging this kind of cooperation, for example through the Ocean Energy Forum as well as programmes such as this one.”

Welcoming the announcement, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Mr Paul Wheelhouse, said:“Scotland is recognised as a world leader in wave and tidal energy with some of the leading technologies being developed and tested here.

“Today’s announcement will allow technology developers to move towards commercial readiness at the world’s leading ocean test facilities; the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney as well as in Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

“The €11m FORESEA project is a tremendous achievement by EMEC and complements the innovative funding approaches for marine energy that the Scottish Government is already providing through Wave Energy Scotland, the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and our enterprise agencies. The Scottish Government is committed to developing a marine energy sector in Scotland and today’s announcement is a tremendous boost to the sector.”

The test centres 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.