Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 143

would never stop. Security of energy supply
would be guaranteed.
“Secondly, and most importantly, it is virtually
unlimited. Wave energy alone has a potential
that could cover two thirds of the projected total
energy consumption of the EU in 2030.
According to some estimates, the global wave
and tidal energy market could be worth up to
€535bn between 2010 and 2050. Long term
economic viability of exploitation will depend on
many factors, including the level of subsidies
for ocean energy and its competitors. However,
there is certainly a case for nurturing it and
letting it grow now.”
Vella then highlighted some of the efforts one
EU member state is making in regards to
exploiting the potential of ocean energy and how
the Commission is helping this industry to
overcome any difficulties: “France, for example,
has faith in ocean energy and has started to set
up pilot projects along the Atlantic coast and in
its overseas departments. Meanwhile, in
Brussels, my team is working hard to identify
the key bottlenecks that could prevent this
industry from blossoming: things like access to
capital, to technology and to space, or red tape
and licensing. We are preparing an action plan
that will tackle these problems head-on by 2016
so that, one day, ocean energy can repeat the
commercial success story of offshore wind.”
Windy world
In addition to ocean energy, the Commission is
also encouraging the growth of wind energy,
offshore in particular. As Vella detailed to
delegates, there are also extensive economic
benefits to be gained, including significant job
creation. Such efforts, the commissioner said,
alluding to the Investment Plan for Europe,
would support the Union’s economy.
“Offshore wind is expected to grow to a
capacity of 40 gigawatts by 2020. In 2012, it
employed 58,000 people across Europe, but
the European Wind Energy Association expects
this to reach almost 200,000 by 2020 and to
go over 300,000 by 2030. That is in line with
my commitment, as Commissioner for Maritime
Affairs, and with the commitment of the rest of
the College of Commissioners, to get Europe
growing again. Indeed, European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker takes the
economic challenge for Europe extremely
seriously, and our Work Programme for 2015
is truly an agenda for change.
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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N V I R O N M E N T
Vella noted the
increasing
consumption of fish as
having a “detrimental
impact” on current
stock levels
“We don’t just need to rekindle the economy; thinking that would be
simplistic. We have to do it without sacrificing our social model or our
environment – that is the real challenge. This is why the first thing we did,
in our first month of office, was table an investment plan worth €315bn.
“We want to create a pipeline of mature projects that are economically
viable, have European added value and are consistent with our social
and environmental priorities – so this is certainly the right time for you
to get your green projects going.”
Fishing in the water
Vella then turned his attention to sea life, describing the aquaculture
sector as having “great potential” and focusing on the increasing
consumption of fish around the world. While the commissioner’s speech
made evident that the economic benefits of this cannot be ignored, he
also pointed out the negative effects of such consumption on fish stocks,
as well as arguing that any advantages are not being realised to their
full potential due to excessive bureaucracy, which needs to be tackled
with a sustainable solution.
“All over the world people eat more and more fish. However, our stocks
are in dire straits – not just in Europe; everywhere. What better way to
bridge the gap between supply and demand than to farm it and to farm
it in a sustainable way?
“Aquaculture is truly the goose with the golden eggs. Yet like ocean
energy, it is being held back. For example, small aquaculture farms are
being stifled by red tape, so we intend to make life easier for SMEs from
now on.”
Vella then re-emphasised the importance of research in supporting
sustainability and economic benefits, detailing the active role that Horizon
2020 can play. He also noted the European rules that are being
implemented regarding food origin.
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