Country Reports

In March 2018 the SET-Plan Ocean Energy Implementation Plan has been endorsed. It sets out technical, financial and environmental actions for the coming years to support the development of ocean energy technologies towards commercialisation and to realise the cost-reduction targets agreed in 2016. 

Following this plan, the European Commission has undertaken a market study assessing financial needs and providing options for the design of Investment Support and Insurance Fund for ocean energy technologies.

The European Commission cooperates closely with its Member States to increase support for ocean energy and to encourage them to include trajectories for marine renewable energies in their 2030 National Energy and Climate Plans that are currently being developed. 

The European Commission continued to support ocean energy development via their funding programmes like Horizon 2020 and the European Regional Development Fund. 



The European Commission is supporting the development of the ocean energy sector through an array of activities based on two major policy initiatives: the Energy Union and the SET-Plan in particular, and the Blue Growth Strategy. The main aim of these activities is to drive the development of ocean energy within the transformation of the European energy system and to exploit its potential to create growth and jobs in the EU.

In particular in 2018, the SET-Plan Steering Committee has endorsed the "SET-Plan Implementation Plan for Ocean Energy " developed by the Temporary Working Group (TWG). It proposes 11 actions in order to meet the SET-Plan Targets agreed in the 2016 "SET-Plan Declaration of Intent on Ocean Energy  . These targets are a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of 15 cEUR/kWh by 2025 and of 10 cEUR/kWh by 2030  for tidal energy and of 20 cEUR/kWh by 2025 of 15 cEUR/kWh by 2030 for wave energy technologies.
The actions address technological, financial and environmental barriers that are hindering the development and deployment of ocean energy technologies and as a consequence their cost-reduction:
Technical actions:
  1. Tidal energy – assist technology development and knowledge building up to TRL6
  2. Tidal energy – support system demonstration in operational environment and knowledge building in the TRL 7-9 categories.
  3. Wave energy – support technology development, system demonstration and knowledge building up to TRL 6
  4. Wave Energy – encourage and support device and system demonstration at early demonstration array scale up to TRL 7-9.
  5. Collaborate in the areas of installation, logistics and infrastructure.
  6. Co-ordinate the development of standards and guidelines for wave technology evaluation and LCoE analysis.
Financial Actions:
  1. Investigate the potential for creation of an Investment Support Fund for ocean energy farms: EU and National Authorities should collaborate in order to create a Fund providing flexible capital, and enabling further private capital to be leveraged
  2. Progress the creation of an EU Insurance and Guarantee Fund to underwrite various project risks: This would be targeted at the first ocean energy projects to cover risks such as availability, performance, unforeseen events, failures, etc. Consider the provision of a common reserve fund available to multiple projects in the initial farm or plant roll-out, to spread the risk and reduce the cost of providing guarantees.
  3. Support the development of a collaborative procurement model adaptation of the "Wave Energy Scotland" approach for wave energy development at EU Level using pre-commercial procurement or similar.
Environmental Actions:
  1. Collaboration on the development of certification and safety standards for the development, testing, deployment of ocean energy devices,
  2. Continue the de-risking of environmental consenting through an integrated programme of measures and in particular through promoting open data sharing.
An estimated overall investment of EUR 1.2 billion is required to ensure the success of the implementation plan, taking into account contribution from industry, national and European funds :
  • EUR 409.5 million coming from the industry (private funds - 33% of the total);
  • EUR 421.5 million coming from national/regional programmes - (34% of the total);
  • EUR 411.5 million coming from EU funds (33% of the total – mainly from Horizon 2020 and a minor part form InnovFin EDP)”
As mentioned in the European Commission Blue Growth Strategy, ocean energy can play a threefold role in the EU, helping meeting decarbonisation targets, fostering growth in European regions and becoming a driver for employment. The contribution of Ocean Energy to the blue economy was accounted in the European Commission first "Annual Report on the Blue Economy " published in July 2018. The report examines the role of emerging sectors, including ocean energy, and the opportunity that they bring for attracting investments and potential future deployments. The analysis showed that in the EU between 2007 and 2015 cumulative investments for EUR 2.6 billion has been directed towards the ocean energy sector, with 74% of the funds coming for private corporate investments (1.9 EUR billion), with the supply chain located in many EU regions, including landlocked countries. The European Commission, in the period 2007-2018, has supported a variety of ocean energy projects for a total investment of EUR 864 million, through different instruments such as R&D framework programmes (FP6, FP7 and Horizon 2020), European regional development funds (ERDF), and demonstration support with the NER 300 and the InnovFin Energy Demo Projects (EDP). 
The "Clean Energy for EU Islands " is a new policy initiative, launched in 2017, with the aim of helping islands to generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy through the use of the latest renewable energy technologies. Whilst not specific to ocean energy, the initiative offers scope for the investigation of the use of ocean energy technologies in EU islands, especially when coupled with energy storage facilities. In Europe a significant part of the installed ocean energy devices is located in the proximities of islands suchs as Orkney (UK), Shetlands (UK), Ussant (FR), Crete (GR), Gran Canaria (ES) and Texel (NL).
In 2018 two environmental projects amounting EUR 1.5 million funded by DG MARE/EASME (Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) started: SEAWAVE led by EMEC and WESE led by Azti Tecnalia. The projects will run for three years and provide information on the interaction between wave energy converters deployed at EMEC and BIMEP with the marine environment with the aim of reducing uncertainties related to licensing and consenting of wave energy farms.
The NER300 programme remains the main market incentive scheme supporting first-of-a-kind commercial-scale renewable energy projects. Five ocean energy projects were awarded support through NER300 in 2013 and 2014. No new projects were announced in 2018. Table 1 presents an overview of the project announced and their status. 
97752-ec-table1.pngTable 1 Pre-commercial projects awarded support through NER300
The European Investment Bank (EIB) together with the European Commission has launched the InnovFin Energy Demo Projects (EDP) which provides support in the form of loans for first-of-a kind projects. InnovFin aims to facilitate and accelerate access to finance for innovative businesses and projects in unproven markets in Europe. The scheme helps reducing the financial risk of demonstration projects, offering equity and debts tailored to the need of the project. 
93986-ec-table2.pngTable 2 Projects supported by EIB InnovFin Energy Demo
In 2018 the European Commission has presented their proposals for their funding programmes for 2021-2027. Horizon Europe will be the successor of Horizon 2020 and the initial budget proposal for Research and Innovation is EUR 100 billion. The European Commission has proposed an EU Innovation Fund for the period 2021-2027, which will build on the NER300 programme. The Innovation Fund has been established by the revised EU Directive to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments. The fund will support low-carbon innovation in energy intensive industry, carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technologies, innovative renewable energy and energy storage technologies, and demonstration projects on the environmentally safe capture and geological storage of CO2 (CCS).

The Horizon 2020 is the current framework programme put in place by the European Commission to support innovative R&D actions. Since its inception in 2014, the H2020 programme has provided more than EUR 165 million for ocean energy R&D to 44 different projects, including feasibility studies under the Small Medium Enterprises instrument.  

Horizon 2020 currently funds 17 R&D projects on ocean energy. Five projects were awarded in 2018 and focusing predominantly on tidal energy demonstration, wave energy power take off (PTO) and array design. Currently there is one Horizon 2020 opportunity open for application focussing on "European Pre-Commercial Procurement Programme for Wave Energy Research &Development "

An overview of ongoing H2020 R&D projects is presented in Table 3, focusing on the objective of the newly announced projects and presenting the key achievements obtained in 2018. Highlights include the fabrication of the second Penguin WEC at EMEC as part of the CEFOW project, the 3 GWh mark achieved by the OR2 floating tidal energy converter in the FloTEC project, the deployment of the Corpower WEC at EMEC, the installation of the new turbine on the Marmok wave device, the deployment of the Deepgreen500 device, and the design of new PTO as part of the TIPA and TAOIDE projects. 
More information about the projects and results can be found via the CORDIS project database 


Ocean Energy R&D H2020 projects awarded since 2015

83524-ec-table3.pngTable 3 Ocean Energy R&D H2020 projects awarded since 2015











































Marinet 2, Foresea and Marinerg-I projects, supported by the European Commission H2020 and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) offer access to testing infrastructures and centres and, to research facilities across Europe.



Interregional European projects (Interreg) aim at fostering transnational cooperation among neighbouring countries, encouraging collaboration to improve economic, social and territorial development of European regions. This includes projects such as Foresea (access to test centres), ITEG (exploring the integration of tidal energy and hydrogen) and MET-Certified (development of internationally recognised standards for ocean energy). New projects launched in 2018 include Marine Energy Alliance (with partners from FR, IE, NL, and UK), and Blue-GIFT (Blue Growth and Innovation Fast Track)






The European Commission is also funding activities to get a better understanding of the ocean energy sector like studies or support activities for research and innovation and knowledge transfer (Table 4).













The European Commission conducted a "Market Study on Ocean Energy"1  . The scope of the study was to understand the financial needs of the EU ocean energy sector, identifying current gaps and proposing possible financing solution taking into account the recommendations of the Ocean Energy Roadmap. The study puts forward recommendations for the creation of an Investment fund and of an insurance fund for ocean energy. The study quantified investment needs based on three different deployment scenarios (pessimistic, neutral and optimistic), which would range between 2.8 and 9.4 EUR billion, corresponding to 1.3 GW installed in the pessimistic case and 3.9 GW installed in the optimistic scenario.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house centre of the European Commission for research and scientific advice to the EU, is doing an inventory of Future Emerging Technologies relevant to energy supply. The needs for the ocean energy sector and the type of innovations to bridge the gap with the market have been analysed and are published in the report Future emerging technologies for the ocean energy sector: innovation and game-changers:


A public study on the Impact of European funded Ocean Energy R&D projects of the last 20 years is on-going aiming to provide insights into the impacts of funding and opportunities to influence the recommendations to increase future R&D impacts.