By Our Brussels Correspondent
Marine energy can make a significant contribution to European energy security, but the EU and Member States must act now in a coordinated manner to make this happen, according to the ocean energy industry.
This was the call to action at the first convening of the Ocean Energy Forum in Brussels.
The Ocean Energy Forum is the first step of an action plan launched by Commissioner’s Oettinger and Damanaki earlier this year to accelerate the commercialisation of the ocean energy sector. It will run from 2014 to 2016.
The political launch in Brussels introduced the activities of the Forum, to be performed by its three working groups on technology; markets & finance; and grids, environment & planning.
Dr Sian George, Chief Executive, Ocean Energy Europe, explained:
“EU Member States and the industry need to act together to remove barriers to development. By sharing financial risk they can encourage investment.
“By sharing knowledge and best practise they can reduce technology and project development risks. This is the kind of coordinated approach which is needed to turn renewable ocean energy into a European industrial success story and make a significant contribution to European energy security – which is precisely what we hope the Ocean Energy Forum will do.
“Europe currently has the best ocean energy technologies, research centres and resources in the world and is leading the race to industrialise this exciting new energy sector. However, our global competitors are closing the gap by putting attractive support frameworks in place.
“The Ocean Energy Forum will help maintain our advantage and ensure that the EU fully exploits the growth, employment and export potential of Europe’s substantial ocean energy resources,” concluded George.”
The second meeting of the Ocean Energy Forum will take place in Dublin on June 11, in preparation for the first meeting of the Forum’s Ministerial Board, in Paris on October 1, where the high-level objectives and initial recommendations of the working groups will be presented for review and approval by European energy ministers and senior industry leaders.
The Ocean Energy Forum will ultimately produce a Strategic Roadmap for commercialisation of the sector which is planned to feed into a European Industrial Initiative for ocean energy in 2017.