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Europe explores renewable ocean energy

Staff writer |
EU Commissioners for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki and for Energy, Günther Oettinger today presented a new action plan to facilitate the further development of the renewable ocean energy sector in Europe.

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The action plan aims to help drive the 'blue energy' sector towards full industrialisation. It will also establish an Ocean Energy Forum, bringing together stakeholders in order to encourage cooperation.

Commissioner Damanaki said: "As our Blue Growth strategy highlights, seas and oceans have the potential to generate huge economic growth and much-needed jobs. By helping the ocean energy sector to fully develop we can fulfil this potential through innovation while also securing clean, renewable energy for Europe."

Commissioner Oettinger added: "Ocean energy has a significant potential to enhance the security of supply. This Communication aims to contribute to promote technological innovation and to reach the Objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and beyond. Developing a wide portfolio of renewable energy sources including ocean energy also facilitates their integration in the European energy system."

The ocean energy resource could be harvested in many forms, for example through wave energy and tidal stream energy. The exploitation of the 'blue energy' would contribute to the decarbonisation of the EU's economy and provide secure and reliable renewable energy resources. In addition, it could help create new, high quality jobs.

However, in order to explore the full potential of this sector, several challenges need to be addressed. These include high technology costs; substantial infrastructure barriers, such as grid connection issues; administrative barriers such as complex licensing and consenting procedures; and environmental issues, including the need for more research and better information on environmental impacts.

To this end, an Ocean Energy Forum will be established with a view to providing creative solutions and promoting the development of this sector.

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