The European Union – a key enabler in the development of marine renewable energy

11 Mar 2020

The European Union is investing massively in blue growth. It runs various programmes to help fund projects such as marine renewable energy developments.

The EU is keen to reduce carbon emissions, increase the use of renewable energy and develop energy efficiency. In this respect, Atlantic France’s representative in Brussels, Christophe Jost says: “Europe has set out very clear objectives about energy and climate change. This means there is a supportive environment for the development of renewable energy, especially marine renewables.”

ERDF, Horizon2020, Interreg…

While there may not be any funding mechanisms specifically for marine renewables, opportunities are available under various European programmes. These include:

  • The ERDF (European Regional Development Fund): under this scheme Atlantic France manages a budget of over €300 million for regional development including environmental and energy innovation. It has, for example, backed the SEM-REV offshore test site and the Technocampus Océan.
  • Horizon 2020: this framework programme for research and innovation is aimed at both the research and business communities. With an €80 billion budget, it supports collaborative projects such as the floating wind turbine, Floatgen, developed by a European consortium of 10 partners.
  • The Interreg North West Europe and Interreg Atlantic Area programmes: these have enabled the test facilities SEM-REV in France, EMEC in Scotland and SmartBay in Ireland to work together as a network, providing businesses with access to their services.

Highly competitive programmes

“These programmes are highly competitive and success rates stand between 4-5% in some cases for Horizon 2020,” explains Christophe Jost. “It is therefore crucial to anticipate project calls properly.”

The representation office in Brussels can intervene in two ways. Firstly, it helps businesses to pinpoint the right funding streams, find European partners and contextualise bids. Secondly, it plays an advocacy role, giving a voice to stakeholders and shaping how the European Commission drafts its project calls.

The Commission is currently working on a proposal for the next financial framework 2021-2027. The challenge now is to ensure a sufficiently stable budget to fund the EU’s ambitions in combating climate change.


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