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Europe: 50% electricity from marine renewables by 2050

By 2050 Europe could get up to 50% of its electricity needs from renewable marine sources, according to a report by the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation.

The study defines marine renewable energies as including: offshore wind, wave, tidal, and ocean currents, as well as exploiting salinity and temperature gradients and using algae for biofuel production.

“Marine renewable energy is in its infancy, but it has remarkable potential so the target of 50% is ambitious, but achievable – we just need research, industry and policy to come together,” says Lars Horn from the Research Council of Norway and Chair of the Marine Board.

Marine renewable energy needs specific, sustained support for research and development to foster innovation, and also crucially develop appropriate environmental monitoring protocols. The report makes recommendations for Europe’s next steps to achieve this vision, including:

  • Specific funding through the European Commission Framework Programme 8;
  • Future joint research programming, with co-ordinated research between industry and universities;
  • A comprehensive assessment of all the marine renewable resources in Europe;
  • Developing appropriate environmental monitoring protocols;
  • Training and education to provide a skilled workforce to supply what would become a growing sector; and
  • A governance framework based on developing and consolidating supportive policies such as a European Energy Market, providing test site and a European offshore grid interconnector.

The report also calls for a European offshore energy grid to be established.

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