Annual Report 2016
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Chairman’s Message



We have seen ocean energy development progressing at a slower pace than expected some years ago. A combination of high up-front costs and capital needs together with intrinsic technical challenges connected to the harsh ocean environment is probably the main reason. Nevertheless within a few years, 2016 will probably be seen as a take-off year for ocean energy: while several devices were being deployed, some governments set up firm policies to support ocean energy. For example, the Ocean Energy Forum presented a detailed plan to build up ocean energy in Europe. It went from the initial R&D all the way to the industrial roll-out, stating the importance of testing technologies in real conditions while introducing a phase-gate scheme to validate sub-systems and early prototypes.  

I hope that after going through this annual report the reader will have a more positive view of ocean energy: on one hand, the country report chapter will allow us to learn about technology development and demonstration projects in a number of countries. On the other hand, the interviews with open sea test centres show an increasing interest of public bodies to bring more devices into the water to be tested in real conditions. At this point, I would like to thank EMEC in UK, FORCE in Canada, Oregon in US, Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster Promotion Association in Japan and BIMEP in Spain for their collaboration in giving their views regarding the role of these test centres with their challenges and opportunities.

In this promising but challenging future, the OES has updated its international vision for ocean energy stating that by 2050 ocean energy has the potential to have deployed over 300 GW of installed capacity saving 500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. This would be good news both for our climate and also for society in general as far as economic growth and job creation, estimated by the OES in 680,000 direct jobs by 2050. Ocean energy matches perfectly with government priorities in many countries: climate change, industrial development and job creation. In this context, the OES has been collaborating with the OECD project on the Future of the Ocean Economy and a Discussion Paper examining the prospects and potential of the ocean energy sector was prepared in 2016. 

Despite the general positive effect of ocean energy on climate change and other social benefits, some environmental concerns might arise when a specific project is defined. With the aim of reducing environmental and consenting uncertainties, the OES published a State of the Science report under Annex IV in 2016 summarising the interactions and effects of marine renewable energy devices on the marine environment, the animals that live there, and the habitats that support them. Furthermore, a report on Consenting Processes for Ocean Energy was also published in 2016 with 10 specific recommendations to facilitate consenting ocean energy projects after collecting information from several countries and project developers.

The OES is widening its range of activities with two new tasks launched in 2016: Task 10 about Wave Energy Modelling with the objective of verifying and validating numerical models used in the design and power production evaluation from Wave Energy Converters, and Task 11 on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion to promote the dissemination and demonstration of OTEC by assessing the resource potential and state-of-the-art of the technology. In addition to these new activities, the OES is also growing with the participation of three new members in 2016: I would hereby like to welcome India, the European Commission and France to the OES family. 

Before finishing my last message as Chairman of the OES, I would like to thank and congratulate all our members for the new term (2017-2022) recently approved by the IEA after the 2016 request for extension, including a new Strategic Plan for that period. I am sure that our new Chairman, Henry Jeffrey, with the essential support of the Executive Secretary, Ana Brito e Melo, will successfully lead the group to achieve all of the ambitions stated in our new Strategic Plan ensuring a better future for ocean energy. 

I am looking forward to continuing my work in the field of ocean energy and to a productive on-going relationship with the OES representing Spain and serving as Vice-chair for another year. It has been a great pleasure to serve as OES Chairman for the last 4 years working with a committed, enthusiastic team and in particular with our leading light Ana.