As the custodians of vast ocean spaces, Small Island Developing States have recognized the significant potential of harnessing ocean energy to transform their economies and provide a pathway to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement commitments through the decarbonization of the power sector and other end-use applications.
According to IRENA’s analysis, installed capacity of ocean energy could reach 72 GW of installed capacity by 2030. However, over the last decade, growth in the sector has been slower than expected. Ocean energy technologies are still in developmental stages, with most technologies in the prototype phase and some just reaching commercialization. In particular, the market introduction of these technologies in SIDS face several barriers, related to small market size, high costs and risks associated with renewable energy investment, as well as other limitations related to data availability, policy and regulation, research and development, capacity building and access to finance. Most importantly, SIDS have reiterated the urgent need for increased private sector engagement as well as financial and technical support to assess and develop their ocean potential through suitable and sustainable ocean technologies.
In response to the request from its Members to accelerate the uptake of offshore renewables, IRENA has established a Collaborative Framework on Ocean Energy/Offshore Renewables which serves as an effective vehicle for dialogue, co-operation and coordinated action among stakeholders. In light of this, IRENA hosted a three (3) part Technical Webinar Series on the development of Ocean Energy Technologies which can be considered by SIDS. The Webinar Series provided an opportunity for those at the forefront to present the latest knowledge and discuss issues pertinent to accelerating the development and deployment of:
i. Offshore Wind and Floating Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
ii. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
iii. Wave and Tidal Energy
In this second webinar on OTEC, experiences and best practices from projects in various phases of development as well as research and studies were presented by Governments, project developers and researchers to provide an understanding of OTEC system designs, technical innovation in the field of OTEC, applications in the tourism sector, as well as other sustainable water use and food production opportunities.