EU Commissioner for Research & Innovation praises Marine Energy programme.
Major European marine energy conference to hear how a multi-million euro EU-funded initiative has advanced renewable energy development globally.
Europe’s drive to develop wave, tidal and offshore-wind energy will be spotlighted at a marine renewable energy conference in Italy next month by MARINET, the Irish-based, EU-funded Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network initiative.
The €11m initiative, with the help of €9 million in EU funding, provides marine energy development companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers with free, fully funded access to marine energy experts and the world’s leading wave, tidal and offshore-wind test facilities.
By sharing resources and global knowledge MARINET has already prevented expensive mistakes and unnecessary duplication by independent researchers operating throughout the EU, saving researchers millions of euro.
Wave energy alone, a clean, sustainable and endless source of energy, has the potential to generate up to 80,000TWh of electricity per year, enough to meet global energy demands five times over. Tidal energy is 100% predictable, and wave energy is far more reliable than wind as a source of electricity generation.
Because of this the EU is driving research in marine energy so that the EU target of generating 20% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 will be achievable. Some EU-member states have set even more ambitious targets for energy consumption from renewable sources, such as France (23%) and Denmark (30%).
The US and Canada are closely watching marine renewable energy development in Europe and have expressed interest in joining the MARINET initiative given its success, as Taiwan has already done.
EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “MARINET is a model of success and demonstrates what the EU can achieve in terms of collaboration and sharing knowledge transnationally. Whilst marine energy is a hugely desirable electricity source, it is very costly to develop and test these renewable energy technologies. By providing fully funded access to the world-class test facilities that exist throughout the EU, the MARINET initiative is clearly accelerating the development and commercial deployment of marine renewable energy technologies.”
The MARINET initiative, led by Beaufort Research UCC in Ireland, brings together 45 facilities from 29 partner research centres across Europe. The budget of €11 million is being used to directly fund access to international marine testing and research facilities, including travel costs and to promote networking, testing standardisation and research. The costs of access to the world-class test facilities can vary across Europe depending on the scale and complexity of the facility and can range from €1,000 to over €30,000 per week. The cost and access logistics might be prohibitive in the case of small companies or renewable energy technology start-ups were it not for the existence of MARINET.
Prof. Tony Lewis, Beaufort Research UCC and lead partner of MARINET explains: “MARINET is unique in its approach to research and development. This is the first time that an initiative of this scale has brought together world-class test facilities with renowned marine energy experts and academics along with commercial operators to accelerate testing and consequently drive more positive results.”
“By offering European-wide access to marine energy test facilities, the best facilities and expertise in the world are being shared, which saves several thousands and often hundreds of thousands of euro in the costs of development, it promotes standardisation and also ensures that marine renewable prototypes are tested in all sorts of marine conditions”, he added.
The MARINET initiative has already supported over 350 marine energy developer personnel, and granted 412 weeks of testing at facilities located throughout Europe. More than 100 devices have been tested for their suitability for marine energy generation, at over 30 test facilities in Europe.
Denmark’s Poseidon Floating Power is one of the companies to benefit from the MARINET initiative. The clean-tech company, which operates the world’s first offshore grid-connected wind and wave technology, used the Beaufort Research UCC test facility in Ireland to test their floating wind prototype earlier this year. Poseidon is currently considering expansion into the North Sea.
The wave-current circulation tank and wave basin at IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea and the ECN Hydrodynamic and Ocean Engineering tanks are also both significant partners in the initiative, welcoming over 26 international tests to their world class facilities, such as the wave energy prototype from Spanish company Sendekia S.L. among others. These facilities can replicate the largest waves and tides to measure and monitor energy production, as well as ensuring that equipment, often at prototype stage, can withstand the forces of the waves and tides while harnessing their endless power.
Atlantis Resources Corporation is another company to benefit from MARINET, partnering with Norwegian company SmartMotor AS to become the first group to avail of the new £10m electrical ‘Nautilus’ Rotary Test Rig at the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) in the UK in order to test the electrical performance of their large-scale tidal turbine. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in the United Kingdom is also a major partner in the MARINET initiative, providing world-class experts and their unique off-shore wave and tidal facilities to marine research entrepreneurs and researchers. The progressive scaled testing approach adopted by MARINET significantly reduces installation and operation costs offshore, and will accelerate market delivery of marine renewable power for electricity.
The MARINET seminar will take place in Rome from 5th and 6th November 2013, at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche (INSEAN) facility, which is also one of the partners in the initiative, and will bring together leading researchers, experts and commercial developers in the area of marine renewable energy.
The Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network is a network of research centres and organisations that are working together to accelerate the development of marine renewable energy technologies – wave, tidal & offshore-wind. Co-financed by the EC, MARINET offers periods of free-of-charge access to world-class R&D facilities & expertise and conducts joint activities in parallel to standardise testing, improve testing capabilities and enhance training & networking.
Partners in MARINET
- Ireland (Lead)