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Study in Support of Impact Assessment Work for Ocean Energy

Published on: Wed, 27/08/2014 - 17:54
Table of Contents
    The ocean energy sector is on the brink of commercial development. Europe is currently in the lead in this emerging industry both in terms of technological capacity and deployment. There are several barriers, however, which could jeopardise the future of this clean energy industry. The EU can intervene to help resolve some of these issues. Depending on the strength of this intervention, the market uptake by 2035 could range from relatively modest (4.3GW) to strong (10.5GW). The study concludes that the economic, social and environmental benefits are maximised under the strong policy intervention scenario, which presupposes the use of robust policy measures supporting renewable energy proliferation.

    Figure 1: Overview of ocean energy projects from Ecorys (2013)

    The European Commission has commissioned Ecorys to conduct a study on ocean energy. The main purpose of the study was to review the current status of the industry and to assess the possible impacts of EU-level intervention. The study served as a key input into the formal Impact Assessment and, indirectly, as a basis for the on-going initiative on ocean energy.

    In line with the requests made in the tendering specifications, the study is structured as follows:

    1. Introduction

    2. State of play

    3. Future market uptake scenarios

    4. Economic, environmental and social implications

    5. Overview of impacts

    In the first chapter, the study outlines the context within which the enquiry into the ocean energy sector was launched.

    The second chapter introduces the main types of ocean energy technologies, their deployment potential and their current technological development status. It provides key information such as installed capacity around the world and it gives overview of the main market players. This section also analyses the main barriers to the full commercialisation of the sector, which include high installation and maintenance costs, access to grid infrastructure or administrative and regulatory barriers, for example.

    In the third chapter, three different market uptake scenarios are identified, corresponding to various degrees of policy intervention. The analysis relies on the data included in the Impact Assessment accompanying the Energy Roadmap 2050 (SEC(2011)1565/2) and predicts that, in the baseline scenario, ocean energy installed capacity would reach 4.3GW in 2035 from the current 10MW installed. In the 'strong stimulus' scenario, which envisages robust policy measures supporting renewable energy, the installed capacity was forecasted to reach 10.5GW by 2035. The 'intensified coordination' scenario, which relies on voluntary enabling initiatives, is expected to yield market uptake within the range between the baseline and the 'strong stimulus' scenarios.

    The fourth chapter assesses the economic, social and environmental impacts, which could follow on from the three market uptake scenarios. The main elements under scrutiny are the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), competitiveness of European industry, greenhouse gas abatement, local environmental impacts and employment.

    Chapter five summarises the main findings.


    • Rob Flynn's picture

      Thanks Petra,

      Could you provide a link to the full IA here also?