The pressure of climate change and the growing energy demand has increased interest in marine renewable energy resources, such as wave energy which can be harvested through Wave Energy Converter (WECs) Arrays.
However, the wave energy industry is currently at a significant juncture in its development, facing a number of challenges which require that research re-focusses onto a techno-economic perspective, where the economics considers the full life-cycle costs of the technology. It also requires development of WECs suitable for niche markets, because in Europe there are inequalities regarding wave energy resources, wave energy companies, national programmes and investments. As a result, in Europe there are leading and non-leading countries in wave energy technology. The sector also needs to increase confidence of potential investors by reducing (non-)technological risks. This can be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach by involving engineers, economists, environmental scientists, legislation and policy experts etc. Consequently, the wave energy sector needs to receive the necessary attention compared to other more advanced and commercial ocean energy technologies (e.g. tidal and offshore wind).
The formation of the first pan-European Network on an interdisciplinary marine wave energy approach will contribute to large-scale WEC Array deployment by dealing with the current bottlenecks. The WECANet Action aims at a collaborative approach, as it provides a strong networking platform that also creates the space for dialogue between all stakeholders in wave energy. WECANet’s main target is the equal research, collaboration and funding opportunities for all researchers and professionals, regardless of age, gender and location.
Prof. Phoebe Koundouri is a Management committee member