AREG: Could blue be the new green?

Areg chairwoman Jean Morrison
Areg chairwoman Jean Morrison

Blue Energy, which embraces wave, tidal and floating wind power, is now seen as key to realising Europe’s energy transition goals and meeting stringent climate change targets.

Using renewable sources, its ambition is to generate a flexible and interconnected energy supply system across the continent.

Research has shown, based on favourable regulatory and economic conditions, that Blue Energy has the potential to meet 10% of the EU’s power demand by 2050.

That expectation, however, is based on determined R&D investment and unified industrial development policies across EU countries, organisations and businesses.

There’s no doubt the drive to enhance and accelerate the development of new technologies across the marine energy sector is alive and kicking.

We see it in action through our members’ commitment and activity. Such vision and efforts can now be reinforced through EU funding to develop a joint internationalisation strategy for the marine sector.

To pull together organisations and businesses in this effort, a European consortium has launched The Europe Leading Blue Energy (ELBE) project.

Part of the EU’s Cluster Collaboration Platform and funded by COSME, the EU programme for competitiveness, the initiative has been selected as the main representative of the energy sector.

Its aim is to forge business collaboration and innovation and identify new opportunities in global markets for floating offshore windfarms, wave and tidal for the European energy supply chain.

The 18-month project, which kicked off in Brussels earlier this year, will be implemented by a consortium of organisations, which includes AREG, Flanders’ Maritime Cluster (Belgium), Offshoreväst (Sweden), Offshoreenergy.dk (Denmark), under the co-ordination of the Basque Energy Cluster in Spain. The partners involved represent 532 organisations, 17 Blue Energy test and demonstration centres, 24 wave energy developers, seven tidal developers and seven floating offshore wind developers.The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) is an action of the Cluster Internationalisation Programme for SMEs.

The plan is to deliver a strategy for European businesses to enter global markets and create an alliance with a clear focus, which is ready to trade across the world.
Our recent event in Aberdeen welcomed delegates to find out more about ELBE and how AREG members can support this exciting initiative. We also heard from companies including, Wood, Xodus Group and 1CSI on their work in renewables and ambitions for the future.

AREG is playing a key role to galvanise phase one of the project. This will create new EU cross-border and cross-sectoral business alliances and identify business opportunities for SMEs in the emerging global offshore wind, wave and tidal markets. In phase two, we aim to define and launch a joint internationalisation strategy with the purpose of strengthening Europe’s position as the world technological and industrial leader in Blue Energy.

Among other activities, the project will conduct market analysis in the main non-European countries involved in marine energy developments, alliance participation in international events and the organisation of several networking and technical events among the companies of the different regions.

This is a fantastic opportunity for our members and the wider energy community to create a new industrial sector, generate jobs, bolster the local supply chain, and take advantage of export opportunities in the global marketplace.

Jean Morrison is chair of AREG

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