Event Date:Tuesday, 6 July, 2021
The side event is jointly organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Organization (SIDS DOCK), the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers (GN-SEC), and partners such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Henry L. Stimson Centre Alliance for a Climate Resilience Earth (ACRE). The event will discuss a first deliverable of the Ocean Energy for Blue Economies Platform (OEBEP), which facilitates south-south and triangular cooperation between Small Island Developing States (SIDS), coastal nations, academia, industry players and financiers. Ocean energy is the largest source of sustainable energy on the planet and can be the catalyst for sustainable development in SIDS. Further information is available at: www.viennaenergyforum.org and http://ocean.gn-sec.net. The initiative receives support of the Austrian and Norwegian Governments.
Day: 06 July 2021, 16.00 – 17.00
Introduction to the side event and OEBEP
Mr. Stephan Sicars, Managing Director of the Environment and Energy Directorate, UNIDO
The IRENA Collaborative Framework on Ocean Energy/Offshore Renewables
Mr. Francisco Boshell, Market Analyst, IRENA
Presentation of the proposed Ocean Energy Development Platform (OEDP)
Mr. Dan Grech, Founder and CEO of Global OTEC Resources Ltd
Caribbean Island Futures: The role of ocean energy for the blue economy
Ms. Cherri-Ann Farquharson, Knowledge Management and Capacity Development Expert of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Efficiency
Moderation and round of questions
H.E. Mr. Vince Henderson, Dominica’s Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the OAS
Concluding remarks and way forward
H.E. Mr. Vince Henderson
Statements from key partners during the discussion: Mr. Benjamin Martin, Global Ocean Resource and Energy Association Institute, Mr. Brian Finlay, President and CEO of the Stimson Center
The desired outcome of this side event will be to discuss a virtual Ocean Energy Development Platform (OEDP), which would become part of the Ocean Energy for Blue Economies Platform (OEBEP). The virtual platform would provide the infrastructure for building ”Compacts”, between national leaders, private investors, bilateral development partners, and academic institutions and specialized energy organizations, to advance the deployment of ocean energy systems. The side event aims at:
The side event will provide SIDS, other national leaders, industry, researchers, and investors with the opportunity to demonstrate interest in jointly addressing the barriers for ocean energy deployment. National Compacts are proposed as the framework for cooperation with SIDS. Compacts are a living document with commitment from signatories to implement certain activities by joining intelligence and resources. A cohort of 20 ocean energy professionals, influencers and thought leaders are to be identified to champion formation of the platform, working in partnership with UNIDO, SIDS DOCK, IRENA, Timpson Centre and the GN-SEC regional energy centers.
D. Why to get active – Ocean Energy as part of the Blue Economy 4.0
The industry future lies within the ocean – The “blue economy” concept seeks to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans, coastal areas and global climate. A blue economy is low-carbon, efficient, and clean. It is also an economy that is based on sharing, circularity, collaboration, solidarity, resilience, opportunity, and interdependence. Already today, the ocean makes a significant contribution to the global economy – over USD 1.5 trillion in value added in 2010. The projections suggest that by 2030 the ocean economy could more than double its contribution to global value added, reaching over USD 3 trillion, and creating approximately 40 million jobs.
The protection of the ocean health and the greening of ocean or coastal industries (e.g., ecotourism, eco-ports) has become also an important pillar of the blue economy. Unsustainable waste and sanitation practices increasingly undermine the livelihoods, economies and societies of SIDS. Land-based pollution and over-extraction of marine resources has taken its toll on the quality of marine biodiversity and consequent impacts on economies of coastal communities in terms of reduction or loss of fisheries resources and reduction in recreational diving economic opportunities.
Coastal areas are being contaminated with solid waste, sewage, industrial effluents, chemical run-off from agriculture, and wastes from the transportation sector (lubricants, coolants, battery acid, tires). Liquid waste such as sewerage and effluents from agricultural run-off are harming coral reefs, and degrading touristic beaches and fisheries, which are major sources of income for many islands. Moreover, coastal areas are increasingly challenged through the impacts of climate change and extreme weather phenomena.
Ocean energy and cleantech were identified as important growth areas in blue economy policies and strategies. The preservation of ocean health opens up opportunities for cleantech solutions. A wide range of mature technologies can be used to mitigate GHG emissions and provide public health, environmental protection, and sustainable development co-benefits. For example, waste management and waste to energy solutions can transform waste streams into valuable commodities, mitigate coastal/marine pollution and reduce fossil fuel dependency simultaneously. Modern wastewater treatment and desalination technologies offer similar opportunities.
Ocean energy technologies wait for industrial up-scale. The wider definition includes an array of renewable energy technologies using non-living marine resources (e.g. wave, tidal, ocean thermal energy conversion, salinity gradients, seawater air conditioning, marine algae and bioenergy) or using marine/coastal space (e.g. off-shore wind, floating PV, hybrids through co-location). Additionally, the definition includes renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions tailored for industries of the blue economy (e.g. fisheries and aquaculture, desalination and freshwater, biotechnology (pharmaceutics, cosmetics), seawater mining, ocean intelligence and observation, maritime and coastal tourism, coastal business hubs, shipping and port infrastructure/services, waste to energy for coastal protection).
Whereas some technologies have already reached the stage of commercialization (e.g., off-shore wind, floating PV), others are still in the stage of prototyping or demonstration. The latter are mainly funded through R&D grants. However, it is expected, that a broad range of these technologies is becoming commercial within the next ten years. Globally, it is estimated that renewable ocean energy could meet nearly 10% of the annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2050 to keep global temperatures under 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. The European ocean energy industry works towards a full industrial-roll out within the next ten years. It is envisaged, that 10% of the electricity demand of the European Union will be covered by renewable ocean energy sources by 2050.
E. Why to get active – The Ocean Energy Case for SIDS
The COVID-19 crisis has reemphasized the urgent need of SIDS to diversify their economies, reactivate or strengthen traditional sectors and tap into the value chains of emerging ones. Increasingly, SIDS are embracing the expanding blue economy as a mechanism for realizing sustainable growth and mitigating local pollution and climate change simultaneously. Endowed with vast ocean territories and exclusive economic zones, these countries and territories have the opportunity to create new income streams and to diversify their economies.
Therefore, as part of their blue economy aspirations, SIDS demonstrate also an increasing interest to harness the opportunities of ocean energy technologies in the near future. Ocean energy is the largest renewable energy resource endowment for SIDS and does not require conversion of limited land area to install PV and on-grid wind infrastructure. SIDS are blessed with many renewable energy resources, and most of them are already competitive with fossil fuel based generation (e.g. diesel, HFO). By considering the decreasing technology costs, this is also true for some ocean energy technologies.
Ocean energy can help SIDS with the goal of reducing long term energy cost, generating employment, reducing trade imbalances resulting from the more than USD 25 billion plus payment for fuel imports, and challenges arising from climate change (reduction in freshwater, reduction on fish catch due to warning oceans and bleaching of coral). In some SIDS the import cost of petroleum fuels is greater than the total export earnings of the country. The use of ocean energy can reduce fossil fuel import dependency and free up scarce foreign exchange reserves for key sectors such as education, health, economic diversification or climate change adaptation. In addition, it lowers high energy costs for industries and households, representing often a high burden for poorer communities.
However, due to certain limitations, SIDS are currently not taking advantage of ocean energy technologies and there is lack of awareness and practical application. There are significant barriers in the areas of planning, policy and regulation, knowledge, awareness, human and entrepreneurial capacity, as well as access to technology and finance. There is need to make a business case for ocean energy and to familiarize SIDS experts and policy makers with the latest industry trends.
F. How to get active – Creation of an Ocean Energy Industry Platform
The envisaged multi-stakeholder platform aims to promote south-south and triangular cooperation on ocean energy issues and to create a “makerspace” for joint analytics, intelligence, testing and best practice. The platform will also create awareness on the potential contribution of ocean energy for the implementation of Blue Economy Strategies of SIDS and other coastal developing countries. It is one of the few initiatives, which link ocean energy to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 7, 9, 13 and 14. Sub-target 14.7 calls international partners to assist SIDS in their blue economy aspirations.
The multi-stakeholder platform is intended to bridge industry and researchers, needing to test ocean energy systems in various climates and contexts with cooperation from SIDS governments, who desire access to technology and expertise. Currently, the opportunities for interaction, partnership formation and information exchange among these actors are extremely limited as many operate in geographic silos. Interaction among these principal stakeholders is critical to making the technology and business cases for ocean energy.
Technology demonstrations play an important role in this context. A major function of the platform is to mobilize a critical mass of personnel and organizations to help SIDS and other interested coastal developing nations to undertake the necessary research and development, accompanied by enabling policy and regulatory regime to attract investments into ocean energy projects. There is an urgent need to mobilize financing for resource assessments, technical feasibility studies and technology demonstrations in SIDS to validate the viability of the ocean energy technology market.
The platform will contribute or will be part of the IRENA Collaborative Framework on Ocean Energy/Offshore Renewables, which serves as vehicle for dialogue, co-operation and coordinated action to accelerate the uptake of offshore renewables in benefit of the global renewable energy transformation.
Mr. Martin Lugmayr,
Sustainable Energy Expert,
Energy Systems and Infrastructure Divison
Department of Energy
Mr. Al Binger,
Please do not hesitate to contact us through: firstname.lastname@example.org
F. Supporting Partners: