The EuropeWave project is inviting wave energy developers to apply for funding via its innovative pre-commercial procurement (PCP) programme. The five-year collaborative programme opened its competitive call for tenders today, which will see several wave energy projects selected for the first stage of ‘concept development’.

The call will be open until 1 October. A free-of-charge webinar will be held on 13 July (9.30-11am UK time), to provide potential applicants with full details of the call requirements, eligibility conditions and evaluation criteria. An online brokerage tool is also available until 20 July, to facilitation consortia building.

EuropeWave is an innovative R&D programme for wave energy technology, which runs from 2021 to 2025. It will combine over €22.5m of national, regional and EU funding to drive a competitive Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) programme for wave energy.

Originally pioneered by the Wave Energy Scotland programme, the PCP model provides a structured approach, fostering greater openness, collaboration and sharing of risk between the public sector and technology developers. The programme will focus on the design, development, and demonstration of cost-effective wave energy converter (WEC) systems for electrical power production that can survive in the harsh and unpredictable ocean environment.

Match-funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, it is a collaboration between Wave Energy Scotland (WES), the Basque Energy Agency (EVE) and Ocean Energy Europe (OEE). This collaboration is closely aligned with the decarbonisation, industrial and competitiveness objectives of the European Green Deal, and will help meet the European Commission’s targets of 100MW of ocean energy by 2025 and at least 1GW by 2030.

The three-stage process will award R&D service contracts to companies or consortia who are involved in the development of wave energy converters (WECs) and their components. After each stage is completed, the best of the competing solutions will be selected from within the group to progress to the following phase.

The EuropeWave challenges

The overarching challenge: The design, development, and demonstration of cost-effective wave energy converter systems for electrical power production that can survive in the harsh and unpredictable ocean environment.

The EuropeWave PCP challenge: To advance promising wave energy converter systems to a point from which they can be developed to commercial exploitation through other national/regional programmes and/or private sector investment.

  • Performance: Obtain quantitative evidence of power capture and conversion capability and increase confidence in yield predictions from simulations.

  • Survivability: Demonstrate effective survival strategies.

  • Availability: Demonstrate levels of availability through reliable prototype operation.

  • Affordability: Increase confidence in estimations of technology costs (capital & operational) and determine the requirements to achieve a competitive LCOE.

This industrial development process creates a ‘funnel’ via a multi-stage funding programme.

At the start, developers can apply for support via an open call. In subsequent stages, the most promising projects are selected to continue into the next round, concentrating the remaining funding on the best-performing technologies. The final round will be demonstrated in Basque and Scottish open waters at the end of the programme.

This model, first implemented in Scotland by WES, is an alternative approach to conventional R&D funding. It optimises public spending on wave energy innovation by providing up to 100% funding in priority areas that need improved solutions. In EuropeWave, the focus is on scale prototypes, off-grid applications and mooring systems.