New support for technology testing at sea
The €11 million FORESEA project brings together Europe’s leading ocean energy test facilities to help with the demonstration of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real-sea conditions.
FORESEA (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action) will provide support for ocean energy technology developers to gain access to world-leading test facilities:
- EMEC (Orkney)
- SmartBay (Galway, Ireland)
- SEM-REV (Nantes, France)
- Tidal Testing Centre (Den Oever, Netherlands)
However, the cost of pre-commercial demonstration of full scale ocean energy technology is high and can prevent products reaching the market.
To address this issue, FORESEA will offer a series of funding and business development support packages to 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.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: " 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.”
Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, 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.
“This will allow technology developers to move towards commercial readiness at the world’s leading ocean test facilities - the 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 this announcement is a tremendous boost to the sector.”
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 research and development and the marketplace, whilst neatly building on existing EU initiatives currently supporting wave and tidal energy technology development across Europe.
“The cost of pre-commercial testing and demonstration for ocean energy is high and investors are generally reluctant to invest until the technology has been proven in the sea at scale.
“FORESEA will provide financial assistance to Europe’s most promising ocean energy innovators and help them ‘get metal wet’, get their technologies tested in real-sea conditions and get private investment flowing into the sector.
“We’re delighted to be leading this programme, and are looking forward to working with our partners in Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium to help tidal, wave and wind energy developers prove their technologies in Europe’s seas”.
The project is funded by the Interreg NWE (North-West Europe) programme, part of the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).
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 due to be announced later this month.