Due to the capital-intensive nature of the ocean energy industry, it has a strong upfront investment requirement. This can be difficult to source, especially for first-of-a-kind projects. One tool available at EU level is the NER300 programme.
NER300 is a financing instrument managed jointly by the European Commission, European Investment Bank and Member States, to provide support for innovative renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage (CCS). It is so-called because NER300 is funded from the sale of 300 million emission allowances (rights to emit one ton of carbon dioxide) from the New Entrants' Reserve (NER), set up for the third phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The funds from the sales were awarded to projects selected through two rounds of calls for proposals.
Under the first call for proposals, the European Commission made funding awards for a total value of €1.1 billion to 23 renewable energy projects, three of which were from the ocean energy sector:
|Kyle Rhea||UK||Tidal energy||€18.39 m|
|Sound of Islay||UK||Tidal energy||€20.65 m|
|West Wave||Ireland||Wave energy||€19.82 m (postponed to round 2)|
The second award decision in July 2014 provided €1 billion in funding to 18 renewable energy projects and one carbon capture and storage project. The following ocean energy projects were on the winners’ list:
|NEMO||France||Ocean thermal energy conversion||€72.1 m|
|SWELL||Portugal||Wave energy||€9.1 m|
|West Wave||Ireland||Wave energy||€23.3 m|
The ETS Directive provided for two NER300 rounds only. Ocean Energy Europe is calling to use remaining allowances in for a third round before 2020.
The NER300 programme will be replaced in the coming years by a new ‘Innovation Fund’ provided for in recent amendments to the ETS Directive. Ocean Energy Europe is in discussion with decision makers to ensure that this new fund meets the specific requirements of first-of-a-kind projects and helps to push emerging renewables, such as ocean energy, on to the marketplace.