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Tony Lewis receives Ocean Energy Europe’s Vi Maris award

Tony Lewis, CFO of OceanEnergy is the recipient of the 2023 Vi Maris Award. The announcement of this prestigious industry award was made during the OEE2023 Conference and Exhibition in The Hague. Vi Maris, meaning ‘power of the sea’, is an industry award established by Ocean Energy Europe (OEE), which recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual to the ocean energy sector.
Tony Lewis has been working in and for the ocean energy sector for over 40 years. The ‘father of ocean energy’, Tony is currently the Chief Technology Officer at OceanEnergy, a member of the Board of Ocean Energy Europe, a Principal Investigator in MaREI and Professor Emeritus in University College Cork, Ireland and a globally recognised expert on ocean energy systems.

Tony continues to have an illustrious career in ocean energy. He spearheaded the development of the MaREI Centre in Ireland, a world-leading research centre for energy, climate and marine energy. He is a member of the Irish Mirror Committee (TC18) of the IEC TC114 Technical Committee responsible for developing standards for ocean energy systems. He was one of the founding members of Ocean Energy Europe, and has served as Board Secretary for the past 9 years. He received the Chevalier des Palmes Académiques, a national order of France for distinguished academics in 2017.

Tony and OceanEnergy will deploy a 1MW wave energy converter at the US navy wave energy test site in Hawaii in 2023, and are currently coordinating the WEDUSEA project, which brings together 14 industry partners from across Europe to work together to commercialise wave energy by demonstrating a second grid connected 1MW WEC, named OE35, in Orkney, Scotland.

A shortlist of nominees was considered by a panel of Ocean Energy Europe board members, who voted by secret ballot for the winner.

Tony Lewis said: “It is a great honour for me to receive the Vi Maris award for 2023 from Ocean Energy Europe. I would like to thank my colleagues for recognising my life’s work on wave and tidal energy. We all realise how important the development of this huge untapped energy resource is to climate change and energy security for the future.”

Rémi Gruet, Ocean Energy Europe’s CEO, added: “I have met many great people in the last 10 years working with the ocean energy sector, and Tony is certainly at the very top of the list. His half-century long contribution to advancing ocean energy science and technology is recognised by peers and competitors alike, in academia and business. His support for Ocean Energy Europe has greatly helped us understand and communicate why and how ocean energy has a role to play in tomorrow’s electricity system. And while doing all that, and despite all awards and decorations, Tony has remained as approachable as he’s always been, someone you will always learn from, a model for many of us!

Images available:

Vi Maris banner Tony Lewis
Tony Lewis photograph

Important boost for European tidal stream sector with over 50MW allocated in UK auction

Europe’s tidal stream sector received a resounding vote of confidence in today’s UK renewable energy auction results, under its Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. £29m (€34m) of revenue support will go to 11 projects, providing much-needed long-term certainty and stimulating private investment.

Seven developers, including British, Spanish and US companies, secured contracts to develop a total of 53MW of tidal stream energy across four locations in the UK. By supporting a wide range of technologies and sites, the awards will enable the scale-up of multiple device types and maximise the benefits to local communities.

In Scotland, projects led by Orbital Marine Power and SAE Renewables will deliver almost 30MW, whilst Hydrowing, Verdant Power and MOR Energy will bring nearly 20MW of capacity to Wales. Spanish developer Magallanes has received contracts for projects in both Scotland and Wales, totalling 4.5MW.

UK’s participation in Horizon Europe will benefit the whole European ocean energy sector

Today’s announcement that the UK is to join the EU’s flagship Horizon Europe programme is excellent news for Europe’s ocean energy sector.

Participation in the world’s largest transnational research & innovation programme, with its emphasis on cross-border collaboration, will get more ocean energy projects in the water and help Europe keep its competitive edge.

Horizon Europe and its predecessors, Horizon 2020 and FP7, have played a key role in driving forward the development of ocean energy to date. Since 2007, support totalling over €400 million has been allocated to ocean energy projects from these programmes.

Europe is the world leader in ocean energy, and the UK is one of its pioneer countries, home to some of its most exciting projects, biggest resources and world-leading test sites. While robust research funding will be welcomed by all, the opportunity for experts to work together is equally valuable when it comes to staying at the forefront of technological innovation.

Ocean Energy Europe’s CEO, Rémi Gruet, commented: “This long-awaited announcement signals a desire at the highest political level to keep the whole of Europe competitive on the global stage. Despite Brexit, companies and researchers have always been committed to working together to advance ocean energy technologies. Collaborating via Horizon Europe will not only make that easier, it will also help Europe to remain the frontrunner in ocean energy worldwide.”

Recruitment – Policy Director at Ocean Energy Europe

The Policy Director is responsible for the advocacy strategy and its implementation. She/he acts in close cooperation with the CEO to turn EU and national political agendas into support and opportunities for OEE members.

The Policy Director is an external face of the Association. His/her aim is for the Association to remain the go-to organisation for ocean energy worldwide, for industry and decision-makers. This requires delivering best-possible service to members and providing accurate and compelling information and messages to European and national policymakers.

More information

France boosts tidal sector with €65m and revenue support for FloWatt

Ocean Energy Europe hails the French government announcement of at least €65 million of funding, plus dedicated revenue support, for the pioneering tidal energy pilot farm FloWatt. Announced today by the Minister for the Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the move signals a huge step forward for the tidal energy sector in France, and lights the way for other EU Member States to follow. Flowatt will be the biggest tidal farm in the world, with the most turbines and largest capacity – a true flagship project.

This announcement demonstrates France’s trust in tidal energy as both an industrial opportunity and a key part of the energy transition. It is a timely response to increased activity and investment in ocean energy in the US and China, and part of a broader push that needs to happen at EU level to secure Europe’s electricity supply with more indigenous production.

With an EU objective of 40 GW of ocean energy by 2050, a new target for innovative renewables in the 2023 EU Renewable Energy Directive, and the inclusion of ocean energy as a strategic Net Zero technology, the past few years have seen an increase in political momentum. This must now be translated into concrete action by Member States, who have the power to roll out ocean energy on a large scale and reap the rewards, both at home and abroad.

Joint letter on the final adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive

The revised Renewable Energy Directive will be central to the delivery of our energy security and climate objectives as set out in REPowerEU, Europe’s energy response to the Ukraine war.

While we welcome the overall political agreement reached back in March, the embedded target will remain purely academic in the absence of delivery measures.

Every day that passes without a final Renewable Energy Directive slows the deployment of renewables projects that are badly needed to deliver globally competitive and home-grown energy to European businesses and families.

We therefore urge the Swedish Presidency to ensure the final adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive.


Read the full letter.

New IRENA-OEE report provides financing blueprint for ocean energy

Public financing of ocean energy must be designed to create a ‘pull’ for private investment in a global market that could reach 350 Gigawatts by 2050, says a new report co-authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Ocean Energy Europe (OEE). By making sure funding instruments are adapted to meet the sector’s needs, governments around the world can leverage private financing, speed up technological development and drive down costs.

As many ocean energy developers prepare for commercialisation, revenue support that provides a fixed electricity price over the longer-term, is the best tool to give investors market visibility and secure the returns they expect.

For technologies at earlier stages, a different approach is needed. Pre-commercial demonstration projects benefit from ‘blended’ financing models, where public funding leverages private money, whilst for prototypes, R&D grants are still the most effective mechanism.

A fit-for-purpose financial framework must be complemented by a supportive policy and regulatory environment. Among the recommended policy actions, the report highlights national deployment targets as being hugely important in giving clear long-term signals to investors.

Ocean energy is one of the technologies that must be scaled up for the energy system to reach full decarbonisation and achieve energy security. The report estimates that ocean energy can create 680,000 direct jobs globally by 2050 and provide clean, local and predictable electricity to communities worldwide.

Ocean Energy Europe CEO, Rémi Gruet, said “Getting financing mix right is crucial for the success of ocean energy. Putting effective public funding in place is important twice over – firstly as a direct means of getting projects in the water, but also in sending the right signals to encourage private investors. We are delighted to collaborate once more with IRENA to make sure decision-makers are presented with the best possible recommendations to make this happen.”

Roland Roesch, Acting Director of the Innovation and Technology Center at IRENA added: “Ocean Energy technologies have the potential to significantly contribute to a just and sustainable energy transition in countries with coastal areas and island territories, while fostering a global blue economy. According to IRENA, to meet a 1.5C Paris Agreement scenario, we will need more than 70 GW and 350 GW by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

The lack of market awareness on these innovations is a key barrier that is preventing this potential from being unleashed. This brief prepared under the IRENA Collaborative Framework on Ocean Energy & Offshore Renewables, with support from IRENA and OEE provides a roadmap to decision makers on the various financing mechanisms across the ocean energy project lifecycle that can be scaled up to ensure tangible investments are made in this sector.”

Innovation is the core driver of European competitiveness – why is it missing from the Net Zero Industry Act?

Read on

Industrial planning is back. The urgency of climate change, covid-era supply disruptions and rising geopolitical tensions have triggered a renewed governmental push to shape future economies and keep clean energy industries within national borders. Brussels is at the forefront of these efforts, with a new ‘Green Deal Industrial Plan’ announced in February and the accompanying ‘Net Zero Industry Act’ expected next week. Europe’s recent ocean energy experiences make clear that innovation and tech scale-up must be central to these plans.

In spite of this, a leaked draft of the Act gives short shrift to innovation. Instead, the draft law is firmly focused on protecting the manufacture of a small number of ‘commercially available’ energy technologies.  All proposed new public funding is reserved only for technologies with a ‘Technological Readiness Level’ (TRL) of 9 – i.e. fully mature technologies. 

The draft does establish ‘Regulatory Sandboxes’, which offer targeted exemptions from national or European laws for technologies with TRLs of 5-7. However, this only applies to the commercially-available technologies listed in the Act. 

Why does all of this matter?

Weakening competitiveness in ocean energy a warning sign for Europe’s global cleantech ambitions

Europe’s industrial leadership in ocean energy is increasingly at risk, according to statistics released today by Ocean Energy Europe. Despite ambitious EU deployment targets, fewer projects hit European waters in 2022 than in any year since 2010. Meanwhile, global competitors like the US and China are catching up fast.

If the EU is determined to come out on top in this new era of global cleantech competition, it cannot let its frontrunner position slip away. How the bloc responds to this test of its leadership in wave & tidal energy will be an object lesson for its wider Green Deal industrial vision.

Back in 2020, the EU’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy targeted global leadership in wave & tidal energy and set ambitious deployment targets.[i] But fast-forward two years, and both tidal and wave energy capacity additions in Europe have hit a ten-year low, outstripped by increased activity in the rest of the world.

2022 tidal stream installations in Europe were limited to small-scale projects, and were dwarfed by a single state-funded, large-scale Chinese device. In wave energy, last year was the fifth in a row where the rest of the world installed more capacity than Europe. Europe still holds the lead in terms of cumulative wave capacity, but only just.  

The drivers of this new dynamic are clear – public funding and policy support. The US now commits circa US$110 million for ocean energy annually and is building the world’s largest wave energy test site. China continues to pour state funds into large projects. And both the UK and Canada are providing dedicated revenue support, among a host of other measures.

5% of new capacity from “Innovative” Renewable Energy: A necessary enhancement to the EU Renewable Energy Directive

The Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers (EUREC) has released a new report, supporting the European Parliament’s proposed amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive (“RED III”) which calls for at least 5% of new renewable energy capacity to come from innovative renewable energy technologies. Ocean Energy Europe enthusiastically supports this target, as it will speed up the commercialisation of new, high-quality, European-made renewable energy technologies, including ocean energy. The next stage of the negotiations with EU Member States must now lock in this new target and deliver the energy future that Europe deserves.

The EUREC report demonstrates that the 5% innovation target is well-formulated and can be implemented via existing EU laws, and by building on approaches already used in some Member States. It also explains why innovative renewables are crucial to security of supply and bringing down energy prices, as they make use of indigenous resources and can provide better balancing of Europe’s electricity supply and demand.


Download the report here: “5% of new capacity from ‘Innovative’ Renewable Energy – A necessary and do-able enhancement to the Renewable Energy Directive“

The report was authored by EUREC, with support from Cleantech for Europe, Climate Strategy, European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), European Renewable Energies Federation, and Future Cleantech Architects.