Basque Country and Scotland team up to boost wave energy with EuropeWave project

The Basque Country and Scotland used the final day of the annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference & Exhibition to announce ‘EuropeWave’ – a new five-year collaborative programme that will channel €20m to the most promising wave energy concepts. The initiative is match-funded by the European Commission via its Horizon 2020 programme, and Ocean Energy Europe are on board as project partners.

Both the Basque Country and Scotland have long histories of industrial strength and today are centres of innovation. Both are committed to full decarbonisation and have developed long-term strategies to transition their energy systems.

EuropeWave will build on these strengths to ensure that the Basque Country and Scotland remain leading players in Europe’s emerging ocean energy sector and the wider energy transition.

This collaboration is closely aligned with the decarbonisation, industrial and competitiveness objectives of the European Green Deal, and will help meet the European Commission’s newly-announced targets of 100MW of ocean energy by 2025 and at least 1GW by 2030.

EuropeWave will use an innovative ‘pre-commercial procurement’ approach to identify and fund the most promising wave energy devices from developers across Europe. Concepts will be assessed according to strict technical and economic performance metrics, and the best performers will be demonstrated in Basque and Scottish open waters at the end of the programme.

Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, and Basque Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia announced the initiative during a joint interview at OEE2020.

Minister Wheelhouse said: “EuropeWave is a great example of how Scotland can continue to collaborate with European partners, like our great friends in the Basque Country, who have very similar aims and objectives to ourselves. We can work together to bring forward what can hopefully be a very important technology for the whole global community.”

Minister Tapia said: “This project is an ideal platform for collaboration between two regions in Europe to promote a new sector that contributes to the energy transition, creating a new economy and employment for our citizens. It is a clear example of how things should be done.”

Matthijs Soede, Research Programme Officer at the European Commission, added: “With EuropeWave we pool public resources for research and demonstration from national and EU level. By effective use of these resources, we hope that this will create more impact for the wave energy sector.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, added: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative, which brings together some of the strongest supporters of ocean energy. The industry has long identified a pan-European ‘pre-commercial procurement’ as the right route to progress wave energy, so we can’t wait to see this project get underway in 2021.”

Tim Hurst, Managing Director, Wave Energy Scotland said: “EuropeWave gives us an exciting opportunity to bring our experience of running a successful pre-commercial procurement programme in Scotland to a collaborative European wave energy project. We are looking forward to working with our colleagues at Ocean Energy Europe and in the Basque Country, and hope to see some innovative technologies brought to life through the programme.”