Home » Ocean energy surged ahead last year, says industry body

Ocean energy surged ahead last year, says industry body

by Mark Cantrell
A CGI rendering of a tidal energy turbine

The ocean energy sector accelerated in 2023, according to the latest statistics released by the Brussels-based industry body, Ocean Energy Europe (OEE).

Low market visibility in the past still impacts 2023 deployment figures, the organisation says, but new revenue support at national level drastically changes the outlook.

In the next five years, 137 MW of tidal and wave energy projects will seek deployment, thanks to EU funding and national revenue support, according to the report. This is said to have prompted several energy majors to enter the field as investors or partners into projects, and is kick-starting the sector’s industrialisation.

Rémi Gruet, OEE’s chief executive, said: “Revenue support at national level creates bankability for projects and market visibility for investors. It is the main driver for private investments, a message OEE has been consistently passing and which is once again reflected in facts and figures. Coupled with EU-level investment support – still needed for pilot and pre-commercial projects – it is kick-starting the industrialisation of the sector.”

France and the UK – two of the leading tidal markets globally – have now implemented per/kWh support for tidal farms, increasing the current tidal pipeline to 127 MW over the next five years.

This is a major step forward, says OEE, but the continuation of the UK CfD ringfence and the implementation of the commercial tidal tenders announced by French President Macron are “vital” to cement the industrialisation of the sector.

Meanwhile, wave energy is reaching high levels of technological readiness, as demonstrated by private investments into current projects.

OEE adds that “uwavering” EU funding helped improve full-scale prototypes and spurred the first pilot farms. However, wave energy will ultimately need the same kind of national revenue support as wind, solar, and now tidal to become a new European industrial success story.

As OEE anticipated, market visibility at national level coupled with technological progress has attracted an “unprecedented level” of interest from the private sector.

Major energy players are building their own ocean energy technologies or partnering up on existing projects. Reported private investments into the sector in 2023 also increased massively – up 75%.

Gruet added: “The CfD ringfence for tidal in the UK needs to be maintained, and the commercial calls for tidal energy announced by President Macron now need to be enacted. Revenue support for wave needs to be put forward, especially in Portugal, Spain and Ireland. This will ensure investors keep putting projects in the water, reduce costs, and make ocean energy into the home-grown industry it can be.”

Image credit: Alex Mit/Shutterstock


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