EMEA: Leading Ocean Energies’ Development

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) are leading renewable ocean energies, mainly on tidal streams and wave technologies. 

Today, the ocean energies sectors are still nascent: tidal range technology, which contributes to more than 98 percent of the existing total ocean energy installed capacity, has provided two large projects in the Republic of Korea and France. 

Similarly, 33 wave energy converters are deployed across eight countries, with Hawaii as the only active project with over 1 Megawatt (MW) capacity. 

Tidal Energy Environmental Impact

Tidal EnergyOcean energy holds many potentials of mainstream power provision that is reliable and affordable while also help fulfill the energy needed for shipping, cooling, and water desalination. However, ocean energy challenges today are the cost of tidal turbine installation and the limited resources for the projects. 

Europe companies account for around 23 percent of all ocean energy patents globally, and the numbers are subject to an increase. The region’s tidal energy capacity reached 27.7 MW in 2019. 

This year – after year-long research on the subject done by Marine-i.- the Europe Marine Energy Centre, alongside Scotland, has established a grid-connected power generation started through a 680 metric tons tidal turbine that would generate the annual electricity demand of 2.000 homes. 

The Scottish government has also expressed their support in investment provision valued at USD 4.72 Million dedicated to turbine construction.

The expansion of ocean energy provides stability in electricity generation, unlike solar and wind power that suffer from resource inconsistency. Energy has recently been a prominent topic globally, with 31 countries planning to deploy ocean energy technologies and racing to install pipeline capacity for the projects. 

Nascent Stage of Development

The ongoing tidal stream and wave project developments are dominated by Europe with 55 percent, followed by the Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa with 28 and 13 percent, respectively. 

However, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has forecasted the energy to grow to 10 GW by 2030, given the right incentives and accommodative regulatory stances across the globe. 

While tidal energy advantages outweigh other renewable energies, the current footprint and progress remain small. By 2020, Europe has produced 14.7 GW of wind energy capacity, and the Middle East is focusing its investments towards solar energy due to its geographical advantage. 

Wind and Solar energies are well-positioned to become the central renewable energy landscape, with countries trying to achieve a zero-carbon future. Despite many investments and research on wind and solar energies, the two rely heavily on the overall weather to generate their output. 

In contrast, tidal and wave power produces electricity from the ocean’s current stable movement and would never stand still, allowing the tidal and wave turbine to generate electricity through continuous motion consistently.

Following the pattern of wind and solar power, offshore renewables innovation is starting to reduce costs in recent years. With a growing interest in the field, research and development would allow ocean energies to produce their optimum potential and help countries fulfill their Paris Convention pledge.

Author: Invest in EMEA
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