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Europe’s ocean power plants return to



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European tidal and wave capacity facilities have grown in 2021 as deployments have returned to pre-pandemic levels and investment has risen substantially, according to CNBC.

In figures released on Thursday, Ocean Energy Europe said that 2.2 megawatts of tidal capacity were installed in Europe last year, compared to just 260 kilowatts in 2020. For wave energy, 681 kW were installed, which what the OEE said was a threefold increase.

Globally, 1.38 MW of wave energy will be operational in 2021, while 3.12 MW of tidal capacity has been installed. Capacity refers to the maximum amount of electricity that installations can produce, not to what it necessarily generates.

In total, 11.5 MW of tidal power plants are now in European waters, reaching 1.4 MW for wave energy. Investments in the ocean energy sector reached 70 million euros last year ($ 76.8 million). The OEE, a Brussels-based trade association, said it was up 50% from 2020.

“Developing new decarbonised, indigenous and affordable energy sources is not a luxury – it is a necessity,” Remi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said in a statement.

The European Commission has set targets for the capacity of ocean energy technologies, such as waves and tides, to reach 100 MW in the EU by 2025 and around 1 gigawatt by 2030. Given the current level of installations, achieving this target is a major challenge. .

“The EU needs to launch its offshore renewable energy strategy now and give ocean energy independence and decarbonisation as part of a diverse set of renewables,” said Gruet of the OEE. “The 2021 figures reflect a strong, adaptable sector and show that ocean energy is proving to be important, both technologically and as an investment.”

Although there is enthusiasm about the potential of marine energy, the footprint of tidal and wave flows projects remains very small compared to other renewable sources. In 2021 alone, Europe has installed 17.4 gigawatts of wind capacity, according to figures from the industrial body WindEurope.

Despite its small footprint, a number of developments in the ocean energy industry have taken place in recent years. In July last year, a tidal turbine weighing 680 metric tons began generating grid-connected energy at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland.

A few months later, in October 2021, plans were announced for a £ 1.7 billion (approximately $ 2.23 billion) project in the UK that incorporates technologies, including underwater turbines.

Earlier this week, it was announced that an independent commission would review the possibility of using the Severn estuary, a large body of water between England and Wales, to harness tidal energy.