Wave energy is a highly valuable and predictable source of renewable power. Up to 10% of the EU’s energy can be harvested from waves by 2050, so the technology will be indispensable in reaching net-zero emissions. Today, however, the installed capacity in Europe and the world is still very small and mostly restricted to demonstration units. To realise its full potential, the technology needs to be scaled up quickly.
That thought was on the minds of Christopher Ridgewell and Jussi Åkerberg, respectively CEO and CTO of AW-Energy, when in 2019 they submitted their WaveFarm project to the “Blue Economy Window”, an EU-funded financing facility.
The Finnish company had already developed, certified and demonstrated the WaveRoller, a submerged oscillating wave surge converter attached to the sea bottom near the shore. It generates electricity from the movement of the waves and is connected to the electric grid on land. A full-scale commercially-applicable WaveRoller unit was deployed in Portugal in October 2019. By integrating up to 24 WaveRoller units, the new project will deliver the world’s first large-scale, multiple-megawatt WaveFarm.
According to Jussi Åkerberg, CTO of AWE and manager of the project, this project will help to displace initially more than 270,000 tons of CO2 [that is the equivalent of the yearly CO2 production of nearly 60000 cars] by 2030. It is also anticipated to create 1,500 new jobs in the post‐project period. Once fully deployed wave energy will deliver emissions savings measured in the billions of tonnes.
The WaveFarm project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to create an industrial ‘package’ comprising the WaveRoller wave energy converters, all WaveFarm infrastructure, logistics, life-cycle services, product documentation and everything else that the customer needs to produce indigenous stable renewable energy.
The WaveFarm project will prepare two pilot WaveFarm projects that will deliver a total capacity of 15MW and will serve as models for additional future WaveFarms with up to 500 MW capacity-each one of those would fully cover the yearly need of a large town.
The share of sustainable energy production among all means of energy production can only increase with diversifying the means of renewable energy sources; and since a grand portion of the European Union has coasts to the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, wave energy can be a reliable option in this process. Thus, it is important that the European Union supports entrepreneurs willing to invest in this field with its expertise and funds, such as the WaveFarm project being funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. As ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network), we work with our partners who wish to take similar steps in our Energy Working Group so that they can benefit from Europe-wide expertise and funds and tenders the EU announces.
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Source: European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Newsroom