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Projected Deployment and Costs of Wave Energy in Europe

Date: October 04, 2013 at 18:34 GMT

Introduction: The new European Directive on renewable energies (RES) sets binding targets of 20% of RES share of primary energy and 20% of CO2 emission reduction in 2020 with respect to 1990. In 2050, several scenarios project a decarbonization of 80% to 100% of the EU electricity. In 2007, the share of RES (including waste) only accounted for 7,8% of total primary energy demand in EU. In this context, a great effort for a massive deployment of RES is needed to accomplish the binding objectives.

Early stage energy technologies as wave energy are not included in the EU SET-Plan to 2020 and are struggling to cross the pre-commercial stage, also known as “the valley of death”, between prototype and the commercial stage. There are several barriers to the development of these technologies, such as the high investment needed to deploy first demonstration units combined with high risk, that require financial support as attractive feed-in-tariffs and public funding.

However, looking at medium/long term, promoting new technologies through adequate policies will not only decrease its costs through the learning process, but also induce a positive effect on national economies due to innovation and increased national competitiveness. Moreover, several papers in literature account for externalities not included on electricity production disturbing the real price of electricity.

This paper gives a vision of the potential evolution of the costs of wave energy if adequate policies are implemented. Potential WE deployment scenarios are presented based on the experience from the wind sector. The LCOE is calculated and projected assuming different discount rates for each component of the cost. Finally the results are compared to other technologies including some external costs not included in the price of electricity. 

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