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Ocean energy is one of the few sources of renewable energy which remains untapped . Europe’s rich natural resources and conditions mean that 10 % of EU electricity demand could be met by ocean energy by 2050.

Europe is committed that renewables should make up at least 32 % of the European Union total energy consumption by 2030. And the Commission has gone a step further. Last November we presented our strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for All.

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There is clearly a tremendous amount of energy in the oceans, and harnessing it for our energy system would be ideal. But how? Along the coastline of Europe, you can see that this question has long inspired innovation, with a host of ideas born and tested to make use of waves and tides.

Including ocean energy (OE) generators in the local energy mix can be beneficial at various levels: they are fully carbon-free; they complement other renewable energy sources when space onshore is scarce; wave and tidal power resources are abundant; and although intermittent, they are highly predictable.

In 2050, Europe’s energy landscape will look very different from today’s. Moving towards an electrified, carbon-neutral system means a significant increase in the uptake of renewable energy, with 80-100 % of future electricity supply set to come from renewable energy sources.

The nascent status of the marine renewable energy sector, particularly ocean wave energy, yields many unknowns about potential environmental pressures and impacts, some still far from being well understood.

The FP7-funded DTOcean project produced a first generation of freely available, open-source design tools for wave and tidal energy arrays.

The potential exists, worldwide, to develop 300 GW of wave and tidal current energy by 2050, according to forecasts by the International Energy Agency collaboration programme for Ocean Energy Systems (IEA OES).