Ocean Energy Accelerates Towards Commercialization in 2023

(Image credit: Ocean Energy)

The ocean energy sector accelerated in 2023, according to the latest statistics released today by Ocean Energy Europe. Low market visibility in the past still impacts 2023 deployment figures but new revenue support at national level drastically changes the outlook. 137 MW of tidal and wave energy projects will seek deployment in the next 5 years thanks to EU funding and national revenue support. This prompted several energy majors to enter the field as investors or partners into projects and is kick-starting the sector’s industrialization.

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 5 years. This is a major step forward 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 industrialization of the sector.

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

Investments. As anticipated, market visibility at national level coupled with technological progress 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%.

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, commented: “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 industrialization of the sector.

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.“

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