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Look no further than the ocean to see what will power our future. That's what a recent study suggests, anyway. That report, presented by the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation (ESF) at the EurOCEAN 2010 conference, outlines several marine renewable energies that have not been exploited to their fullest. The findings suggests that when these yet-to-be utilized sources of energy are tapped – possibly by 2050 – Europe could become the first continent to harness the power of the sea to meet up to half of its electrical needs.

The ESF points to several abundant marine renewable energies, including harnessing the power of offshore wind, waves, tides, and ocean currents as well as exploiting salinity and using algae for biofuel production. The chair of the Marine Board, Lars Horn, discussed the importance of exploiting marine renewables, stating:
Marine renewable energy is in its infancy, but it has remarkable potential. The target of 50% is ambitious, but achievable-we just need research, industry and policy to come together. As well as cutting carbon dioxide emissions and their impact on the environment, investing in marine renewable energy would create jobs in an innovative sector.
Reducing dependency on foreign oil may require extensive future planning and, even if it takes 40 years to fully exploit the benefits of marine renewable energy, it's still worth the wait.

[Source: European Science Foundation]

PRESS RELEASE

50% by 2050 - How the power of the sea could help solve our electricity needs

Marine Board of the ESF presents vision for marine renewable energies at the EurOCEAN 2010 conference


By 2050 Europe could get up to 50% of its electricity needs from renewable marine sources according to a report presented today by the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation at the EurOCEAN 2010 conference.

Marine renewable energies include harnessing the power of offshore wind, waves, tides, and ocean currents as well as exploiting salinity and temperature gradients and using algae for biofuel production. These natural abundant sources offer a significant contribution towards energy supply and security, and to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Marine renewable energy is in its infancy, but it has remarkable potential. The target of 50% is ambitious, but achievable - we just need research, industry and policy to come together," said Lars Horn from the Research Council of Norway and chair of the Marine Board. "As well as cutting carbon dioxide emissions and their impact on the environment, investing in marine renewable energy would create jobs in an innovative sector."

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
* A governance framework based on developing and consolidating supportive policies such as a European Energy Market, providing test sites and a European offshore grid interconnector

The report also calls for a European offshore energy grid to be established, as one obstacle for marine energy is the cost and availability of grid connection. The report was developed with was developed in communication with the European Ocean Energy Association.

The EurOCEAN 2010 Conference is a high level science policy event organised by the Belgian EU Presidency on 12-13 October 2010 in Ostend, Belgium, bringing together the European marine and maritime research community. Participants are expected to call on the Member and Associated States of the European Union and the EU institutions, to recognise that the seas and oceans are one of the 'grand challenges' for Europe in the 21st Century.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regardless of how our future energy will be produced - solar, wind, tidal, nuclear, Mr. Fusion - there is no doubt that it will be converted to and distributed as electricity. Therefore, it should follow that the future of the automobile will be battery-electric, not hydrogen or biofuel, in order to most efficiently make use of that electricity.
        • 5 Months Ago
        i totally agree with u sir, that's why we are here :)
        on the tidal energy. Tidal energy is a very large concept and a lot of research is already being done in de uk. When speaking about tidal they are of course not only speaking about floating devices but also of large windmills in the water. And we all know that water has a lot more power in comparison to wind. So I am certainly all for it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Severn barrage (tidal energy) plan cancelled.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-11564284
        • 5 Months Ago
        Exactly...
        • 5 Months Ago
        Looks like it was far too damaging to coastal environments. There are better ways to harness the power of the ocean.

        And $30 Billion?!? How many offshore wind turbines could they build with that pile 'o cash?
      • 5 Months Ago
      I though they were building a super solar plant in the sahara desert for powering half europe and north africa.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem with optimistic headlines like this is that they fail to take into account the diversity of Europe.

      The problem in this special case is that some of the most heavily populated and/or industrialized regions simply don't have much of a practical access to those marine resources. Realizing the full potential would require massive infrastructure upgrades (like a multinational HVDC network) that I just don't see happening anytime soon.

      I'm not saying it doesn't make sense, or that the potential is not there, I just like being realistic.
      Personally I see a much bigger potential for improving our energy mix in geothermal energy, especially in central and northern Europe.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Get ready to vote down, folks!

      Miles of complicated wave and tide harnessing machines littering the coastline requiring much maintenance and barnacle cleanings while supplying marginal energy at times that don't correspond to load. Unfortunately, wind isn't much better. Let's file this under the long list of well intended, but never gonna happen.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Rest in Peace, Matthew Simmons. You were a Cassandra to the world about peak oil. And you created a great foundation to pursue Ocean energy.


      I'm willing to forget about your crackpot conspiracy theories about the Macando well leak.
      • 4 Years Ago
      But only about 7% of Europe's electricity comes from oil (down from 13% in 1995) - and, being a secure, wealthy, First World area it is an ideal candidate for expansion of nuclear power to pick up the slack.

      That's what we did. About a fifth of our electricity came from oil in the 70s, and now it's down to between 3% and less than 1% depending on who's measuring. That was achieved by shifting from oil to nuclear.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Considering the enormous potential of reg energies, only twisted minds can resort to - and applaud nuclear energie.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Tell me, electric people, how this energy will be stored. If in batteries, like nuclear rods how will the used cores be taken care of. Perhaps the problem should be looked at from the other side as in reducing populations.
      Ocean or ocean wind are both salt destructive to equipment so though the cost of making it seems low the cost of maintenance is astronomical, Solar is great until Mt. St. Helen erupts again and fills the sky and equipment with ash. There are drawbacks and environmental hazards to even the greenest things I've seen. The only real solution is using less energy total , not per capita population. Forget personal conveyances unless you can pedal them and grow gardens for your personal energy needs.