Background and Aim
BEPPo aimed to:
- Foster the development of marine energy platforms by targeted economic growth of this emerging market through the port infrastructure in the North Sea Region. This will maximise the opportunities from one of the largest areas of untapped energy potential (blue energy) and integrate its ancillary activities (manufacturing, operation & maintenance, logistics) within the ports' future development plans.
The significant amount of marine energy still to be captured from waves/tides in the 35.696 km of coastline makes the North Sea Region a perfect area to drive forward the development and application of new renewable energy technologies. This has been fully supported in the Programme’s SWOT analysis of the macro-region’s opportunities and backed up by the 20% binding target for renewables set by the EU Council for 2020, to be met if Europe intends to secure clean energy supplies and limit global warming by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Blue Energy can play a key role in the energy mix production. However, many challenges still lie ahead for ports to become marine energy platforms, as the majority of ocean power projects worldwide continues to be demonstration pilots to be leveraged into full commercial deployment and their integration with existing power generation plants remains difficult. Furthermore, the role of ports and their relationships with energy companies is largely undefined.
Energy is one of the sectors with the largest potential to act as driver for innovation and competitiveness in the North Sea Region. BEPPo investigated how to better harness the potential that Blue Energy can offer and analyse its possible integration with the exploitation of other renewables (e.g. wind and biomass power generation solutions) in North Sea Region ports, thus ensuring reliable, affordable, green energy provision.
Many EU SMEs manufacturing Blue Energy devices are often locally rooted and do not have enough exposure with future end-users to create commercial applications. Via B2B, BEPPo provided a transnational platform for marketing, enhanced visibility and business. It also checked the prototypes available worldwide by involving partners/networks from other ongoing/completed schemes centred on this theme (e.g. MARINET, WAVEPORT, EquiMar, CORES, Marina Platform, Energy Vision NSR, Power Cluster, Lopinod, PATCH, MERiFIC, SUBMARINER, SI Ocean, WAVEPLAM, SOWFIA) via technical workshops to allow North Sea Region ports (invited to all events) to be informed on technologies/ barriers/ ooportunities and provide a benchmark for measuring progress in the deployment of marine energy in the NSR.
BEPPo monitored the partners’ energy projects and marine energy parks (Hanstholm, Oostende, Highlands and Islands), their financial-technical viability/ efficiency/ costs/ survivability/ service life, verifying operation and maintenance issues and environmental/ economic/ logistics impacts on the related regions to encourage replicability within North Sea Region.
The Renewables 2012 Global Status Report recognizes that a “main driver propelling renewable energy policies is their potential to create jobs”. By building on the capacity of North Sea Region ports to innovatively diversify their activities, BEPPo promoted the location of manufacturing/ O&M centres in North Sea Region ports to encourage the establishment of a diverse range of renewable energy industries with multiplier effects in both densely populated central zones and peripheral areas where harbours with high marine energy potential reside.
BEPPo served as a tool to turn policies into concrete outputs, taking into account not only the strong commercial appeal of novelty Blue Energy technologies and the incentives that Governments provide, but also the great contribution they give to move towards a more ecologically sustainable economy.