Ocean energy deployments are back to pre-pandemic levels, with Europe installing over ten times as much tidal energy capacity and three times as much wave energy compared to 2020, according to the lastest statistics published by Ocean Energy Europe.
Investment interest in the sector also rose, with a slew of announcements by large industrial players and public authorities. Both the wave and tidal energy sectors installed significantly more capacity in 2021 than the previous year, adding 1.39 MW and 3.12 MW respectively worldwide. While Europe still dominates global tidal stream activity, more and more wave capacity is being installed outside Europe, often driven by significant government support.
An increase in private investment and the entrance of important industrial players into the sector reflect the growing appeal to investors, power producers and manufacturers. In 2021, the sector signed deals with GE Renewable Energy, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line), Chubu Electric Power, TechnipFMC, and Schneider Electric. Governments in the UK, Italy, Spain, and the USA also committed significant new funding to ocean energy and innovative renewables.
Machines hit the water across all European sea basins, as well as in Asia, Australasia, and North and South America, bringing global cumulative capacity additions to nearly 65 MW since 2010.
New capacity projections for Europe in 2022 remain steady, but conspicuously muted when compared to the EU’s objectives for ocean energy. Despite having set a clear target for 2025, the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy is still not accelerating large-scale deployments as anticipated.
Remi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, commented: “Developing new decarbonised, indigenous, and affordable energy sources is not a luxury – it is a necessity. The EU must kick-start its offshore renewables strategy now, and empower ocean energy to deliver energy independence and decarbonisation as part of a diverse set of renewables. The figures from 2021 reflect a strong, adaptable sector, and show that ocean energy is proving itself, both technologically and as an investment.”