Why the EU supports ocean energy research and innovation

Ocean energy is abundant and renewable. It can play an important role in the energy mix as it is very predictable, contributing substantial value to the energy system. The main forms of ocean energy are waves, tides, marine currents, salinity gradient and temperature gradient.

Under the right conditions, ocean energy could contribute around 10% of EU power demand by 2050.

The technologies to capture ocean energy are at different stages of development in Europe.


Over the past ten years, tidal stream and wave devices - on different scales - have been tested in European waters. However, only a few examples can be found today of ocean energy systems in operation.

Considerable progress is needed - in research, development, demonstration and validation of the technology - for this sector to realise its potential contribution to energy supply, industrial leadership, economic growth and mitigation of climate change.

In particular, progress is needed in design and validation of ocean energy devices, balance of plant (supporting components and auxiliary systems), logistics and marine operations, integration in the energy system, and modelling tools.

Knowledge about the potential impacts of devices on the environment also needs to improve.

What the EU is doing

The EU has supported ocean energy research and development for many years through funding projects. Their focus has been on demonstrating the reliability of ocean technologies and their capacity to survive in aggressive sea conditions, thereby reducing the risk for project developers and investors.

EU support also aims to make ocean energy cost competitive with other technologies and demonstrate its market potential.

Research and Innovation to boost the development of offshore renewable energy (Factsheet)

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020 - calls

    Calls for proposal related to energy themes in Horizon 2020. On this page you can find more information, the work programme and a link to the energy related calls.

  • Horizon 2020 - access to risk finance

    Gain easier access to debt and equity financing, such as InnovFin, managed by the European Investment Bank Group and European Investment Fund

  • Connecting Europe Facility - energy

    CEF energy funds and finances energy infrastructure projects

  • NER 300 programme

    Funding for innovative low-carbon technology research with focus on environmentally safe Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies

  • LIFE+ Climate Action

    Co-financing for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation research, supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy

  • European structural and investment funds (ESIF)

    Energy research related calls may be found in these funds


    EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) aims to make it easier for SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle

  • Prize for renewable energy islands

    Prize rewarding achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases


  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

Related Commission departments