Horizon 2020: funding opportunities for hydro and ocean power

5 June 2014 by Carrieann Stocks

Hydropower and ocean powered technologies have been listed in the European Union's latest funding programme for research and innovation. IWP&DC gives more details about Horizon 2020.

Described as the biggest research and innovation programme ever undertaken within the EU, Horizon 2020 has nearly €80B of funding available over a seven year period from 2014 to 2020. In addition to the private investment that this money will attract, the new programme for research and innovation promises breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts as part of the drive to create growth and jobs across Europe.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. By coupling research and innovation, the scheme is placing an emphasis on science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 is open to everyone. It is described as having a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. Such an approach aims to ensure that new projects get off the ground quickly and achieve results faster.

Securing clean and efficient energy is one of the areas to be addressed under societal challenges through Horizon 2020. The energy challenge is structured around seven specific objectives and research areas which include:

  • Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint.
  • Low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply.
  • Alternative fuels and mobile energy sources.
  • A single, smart European electricity grid.
  • New knowledge and technologies.
  • Robust decision making and public engagement.
  • Market uptake of energy and ICT innovation.

A budget of €5931M has been allocated to non-nuclear energy research for the period 2014-2020. Horizon 2020 states that it is important to develop affordable, cost-effective and resource-efficient technology solutions to decarbonise the energy system in a sustainable way. Hydropower and ocean power are listed as such technologies.

Members of the hydro and marine power industries are urged to consider Horizon 2020 as an ideal opportunity to showcase their new technologies and demonstrate that they can be innovative and worthy of EU funding. Indeed for 2015, Horizon 2020 states that in order to develop the next generation of low carbon energy, the following technology-specific challenges have to be addressed:

Ocean energy: Ensure efficiency and effective long term cost reduction and high levels of reliability and survivability. There is a need to gather experience in open sea operating conditions, structural and power performance and operating data of emerging full scale wave and tidal energy convertors and components in single and/or multiple device configuration. For the overall development cycle a better resource assessment is needed as well.

Hydropower: The focus needs to be on increasing the flexibility of hydropower. Hydropower is still amongst the largest sources of renewable energy. However the challenge is to make hydro in the >100MW range available in short a time as possible. New technologies need to be developed to increase ramping rates and to allow start-stop-cycles to reach up to 30 times per day depending on head and volume. In addition the lifetime of components and respective life time prediction methods under heavy-duty operating conditions have to be considerably improved while avoiding adverse effects on downstream water courses.

Philip Lowe is the Director-General for Energy at the European Commission. He understands the issues and challenges facing the hydro technology sector and the importance of assessing and prioritising future research and development. Hydropower, Lowe believes, "is highly relevant" and should be part of the discussions on Horizon 2020.


More information

Interested parties can find out more information about Horizon 2020 with the online manual. Visit http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020



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