No tidal winners for final round of NER300 awards

Ocean Energy Europe has called for a new EU funding programme for technology demonstration following the NER300 programme, in a joint letter with Europe’s renewable energy associations to the Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

By K.Steiner-Dicks on Jul 10, 2014

This follows the second and final round of NER300 awards today, in which ESB’s pioneering WestWave project won over €23m. NER300 has helped address a funding gap for large scale demonstration of pre-commercial renewable energy projects.

It has been confirmed to Tidal Today that while there was at least one tidal developer as a candidate in the latest round, no tidal companies were awarded funding in the final NER300 awards. However, as highlighted to Tidal Today, since the UK had already reached the maximum number of awards which a member state can receive under the programme, the UK would not have been allowed to propose any further tidal projects. The first round had two tidal projects: SPR’s Sound of Islay and Siemen’s Kyle Rhea projects.

Rémi Gruet, Policy & Operations Director of Ocean Energy Europe, the European trade association for ocean renewable energy said that between research programmes like Horizon 2020 and Member States’ support schemes, there is a need for a demonstration funding programme like NER300 to get technologies over the funding line and into commercial deployment.

ESB’s WestWave was one of the award winners and according to Gruet is a “prime example and offers a real shot in the arm for Europe’s wave energy sector”.

“The ocean energy industry strongly supports the continuation of the NER300 or a similar demonstration programme and hopes to see the European Commission take its success to date forward, and continue improving the scheme. Funding low carbon renewables with high carbon revenue is only logical”, continued Gruet.

ESB Innovation Manager, John McSweeney said: “Ireland’s oceans have the potential, in time, to provide large quantities of indigenous, renewable energy and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Demonstrating technology through the WestWave project is critical if we are to realise the ultimate aim of progressing to larger commercial scale projects. The funding award announced today is a huge boost to the WestWave project and to ocean energy development in Ireland and Europe”.