Supporting Policies for Ocean Energy


In the beginning of 2020, the Danish Parliament approved a national Climate Act with legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels and towards net zero by 2050. In May 2020, Danish government published its first climate plan. A key component of the plan is to build two energy islands placed in the North Sea and by the Danish Island of Bornholm.
Despite the Climate Act and high focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Denmark has no official targets for wave energy, however, the Danish industry organisation “the Danish Partnership for Wave Power” have set new targets that they expect can be achieved, provided enough incentives are available. 

The Partnership for Wave Power have in 2020 engaged with the Danish Politicians to highlight the need for a long-term development support of wave power. The Danish stepwise development process is implemented which combine LCOE estimates for each as Technology Readiness Level (TRL).


In Denmark there are no incentives dedicated for ocean energy. Ocean energy and wind energy are competing on commercial conditions.


There are three national funding programmes that support ocean energy, including:

  • Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program – EUDP
  • Innovation Fund Denmark

Each of these funding programmes supports a wide range of renewable and clean energy activities, and therefore ocean energy initiatives and proposals are competing with other technologies as wind energy for funding.

In 2019 6.7 Mio. DKK. were granted to wave energy, and in 2020 the amount was increased to almost 17 Mio. DKK from EUDP alone.

R&D initiatives and proposals within ocean energy are mainly supported by EUDP and private companies. Examples of projects supported are given in the next section.

Consenting processes

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is used as a decision tool for offshore wind. Specific ocean energy space is not reserved.

The Danish Parliament and the various Governments of Denmark have in their Energy Agreements focus on offshore and nearshore spatial planning in the long-term goal for Danish energy policy. The latest Energy Agreement (Energy Bill) for the period 2012-2020 has specific focus on offshore wind turbine sea-spaces (Kriegers Fak and Horns Rev) as well as 6 dedicated offshore coastal areas.

Pre-selected areas for ocean energy have not been defined. However, historic test sites are recognized as potential areas by authorities.

Spatial planning is coordinated with other interests, at the sea territory. In Denmark the following core public authorities administer the maritime spatial planning:

• The Danish Coastal Authority (an agency under the Danish Ministry of the Environment) – responsible for the use of the coast (together with local Municipalities) and the seabed (e.g. power cables) in Danish territorial waters, including coastal protection and erosion abatement;
• The Danish Maritime Authority (a government agency under the Ministry of Business and Growth) – responsible for maritime safety and the use of the sea territory;
• The Danish Energy Agency (an agency under the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building) – the conditions for offshore farms are laid down in the Promotion of Renewable Energy Act. It provides in its chapter 3 that the right to exploit energy from water and wind within the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone (up to 200 nautical miles) around Denmark belongs to the Danish State;
• The Danish Environmental Agency (an agency under the Danish Ministry of Environment) – responsible for the EIA together with the Danish Energy Agency;
• The Ministry of Defense – responsible for the monitoring of maritime traffic and marine environment, rescue services and handling of pollution at sea.

Three licenses are required:

• License to carry out preliminary investigations – consent in 1-2 months. Investigations cover MetOcean, Seabed Bathymetry, EIA, Maritime Safety, decommissioning plans and public hearing and can take from few months to several years depending on the complexity on the area (e.g. EU Nature 2000 area, fishing and breeding bounds, coastal conditions, landscape and seaview conditions and values, etc.);
• License to establish the offshore site (only given if preliminary investigations show that the project is compatible with the relevant interests at sea);
• License to exploit ocean power for a given number of years and an approval for electricity production (given if conditions in license to establish the project are kept).

The consenting process last from few months for a single device at unproblematic sites to several years.

The Danish Energy Agency is the “one stop shop” facility for the ocean energy consenting process.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The assessment is based on an analysis on the following topics: technical solutions, maritime and environmental safety precautions, organizations planning process and consent to environmental risks, and involvement of and consent by relevant other interests at sea.

The Danish Energy Agency and the Danish Environmental Agency are both the entities responsible for the decision on whether an EIA is required. Monitoring of e.g. offshore wind turbine parks are made by the owners. Decommissioning plans must be presented at application and performed at the end of e.g. periodic ocean technologies test programs.

The legislation falls under the renewable energy act:

• “Promotion of Renewable Energy Act”
• “Energy Agreement (Energy Bill) for the period 2012-2020”

Consultation is done at the stage of the preliminary investigations.

Local Municipality has to be consulted and public hearing meeting published and held. For the less visible ocean technologies and sites outside the public reach (surfing, diving, bathing, leisure sailing, landscape and seascapes values) the process can be simple and short. For visible technologies the process can take longer.

Informal consultation activities can be implemented during the licensing process by direct contact with the authorities.

There is guidance available to help developers during the process through the energy authority and e.g. DanWEC.

Wave energy converters to be tested at DanWEC or at other locations in Danish waters will typically receive a temporary permit for deployment over the testing period - one or two years. Such permit can be obtained by filling an application to the Danish Energy Agency that will process the application.


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publications of the OES do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or its individual member countries.