The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Ocean Energy Europe (OEE) have signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation and accelerate the commercialisation of ocean energy technologies. Further, the agreement aims to promote appropriate policy incentives and innovative business policies in Europe and the rest of the world. The two parties believe that the development of ocean energy technologies can lay the foundations for a blue economy by meeting energy needs for shipping, cooling, and water desalination. Additionally, a blue economy driven by offshore renewables will bring innumerable benefits to Small Island Developing States and coastal communities. It must also be noted that these areas are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
IRENA went on to report that renewable energy from oceans has the potential to meet four times the global electricity demand. The agency called for close cooperation with OEE in platforms like IRENA’s Collaborative Framework and Coalition for Action to share knowledge with the industry and ensure widespread deployment of ocean energy.
As of today, ocean energy is still in its nascent stages globally with 530 MW of installed capacity largely distributed between two tidal energy projects in France and South Korea. With 3 GW of ocean energy capacity being developed within the next five years, a significant capacity would be added. Due to falling costs in recent years, technology is increasingly becoming affordable and will compete with conventional renewable energy sources. IRENA estimates that with adequate policy push, the global ocean energy sector could grow to 10 GW of installed capacity globally.