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Wave energy experts join ENCORE Regional Impact Campaign to discuss multi-use offshore energy parks

  • The ENCORE partnership organised a final Regional Impact Campaign in Belgium on 7th March 2023 coinciding with the WECANet final assembly

  • WECANet EU COST Action brings together a network of over 100 wave energy experts from 31 countries with high participation of experts from Eastern and Southern Members States

  • The theme of the day was wave energy and its role in multi-use offshore energy parks

InnovOcean Campus VLIZ | photo by Bart De Smet

On Tuesday 7th March, ENCORE partners and WECANet members from across 31 countries joined the final ENCORE Regional Impact Campaign, coinciding with the final WECANet assembly. Ghent University hosted the day at the brand-new InnovOcean Campus of The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Ostende.

Peter Scheijgrond, CEO of Bluespring and Lead Partner of the ENCORE project kicked off with a presentation about the achievements of the ENCORE project. He took the audience on a journey starting with a vision for the role of offshore renewables in a 100% sustainable energy supply. See below for a summary.

Annelies Declercq, professor in Aquaculture at Ghent University talked about multi-use in the UNITED project, focussing on aquaculture. Christof Devriendt of OWI-Lab (On- and Offshore Wind Infrastructure Application Lab) explained how "Load Measurements" on more than 20 offshore wind turbines helped to create significant cost-savings for future foundations.

The morning presentations were closed by a fun and interactive quiz about wave energy and multi-use. The questions were derived from the Deftiq online courses. ENCORE partner Luc Hamilton from Teamwork Technology was the winner with 10 out of 10 correct answers in the shortest time. Congratulations, Luc!

During the networking lunch, ENCORE partners were able to mingle with WECANet members and exchange research activities and ideas for collaboration. After lunch, Matt Foley of Applied Renewables Research, moderated an animated discussion panel with Luc Hamilton, Brigitte Vlaswinkel (Oceans of Energy), Annelies Declercq, and Christof Devriendt. There was a lot of interest from the audience in floating solar!

The day was closed off with a visit to the new Coastal Ocean Basin and BlueBridge to hold the last Steering Committee Meeting for the project. The long and busy day ended with an excellent social dinner in the city center of Ostende.

Many thanks to Ghent University and the WECANet team for hosting and organizing a successful event.

Summary of the ENCORE presentation by Peter Scheijgrond:

Until 2030 the focus is on electrification of the demand and increasing the share of CO2-free electricity production to about 70% of the mix. The main challenge will be balancing our grids. Wave, tidal and solar can help balance the grid and offset the need for energy storage because they have different production profiles than wind. From 2030 we will need all forms of energy to produce large quantities of green hydrogen (cf Ad van Wijk). Hydrogen will be produced all across Europe and neighboring regions in so-called "corridors", using existing and new gas infrastructure that is 10 to 20x more efficient than using electricity networks. The North Sea corridor will play a crucial role because it contains a large existing gas infrastructure and also space to store hydrogen in large salt caverns. We will need wind and wave energy solutions that produce directly hydrogen and feed the existing gas networks on the North Sea. This will avoid expensive long-distance grid connections.

In ENCORE four innovative offshore renewable energy solutions were demonstrated: two tidal energy solutions (by EEL-Energy and Water2Energy) and wave energy solution (by Teamwork Technology) and floating solar (by Oceans of Energy). Peter explained how a structured approach was used to derisk the technologies, by following technical specifications for marine energy convertors developed under the IEC TC114 committee. Service providers like Bureau Veritas, EMEC, DMEC and, supported the technology developers in applying these technical specifications in the form of workshops, reviews of documents, test plans, and analyses of results.

In parallel, Bluespring and Deftiq captured all learnings during the project and created 8 online eLearning courses.

In order to engage policymakers, the partnership organized workshops and participated in high-level policy events to create awareness and understanding of the needs of the sector. A dedicated Toolbox for policymakers was developed called Adaptive Policy Recommendations following the language and steps of Stage-Gate Metrics.

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