EU call for marine bank backing
Commissioner for maritime affairs says private sector needs to come to table
The European Commissioner for maritime affairs has called on banks to begin taking on project risk in the tidal and wave energy industry.
Karmenu Vella, the commissioner for the environment, marine and fisheries, told delegates at the Ocean Energy Europe conference in Dublin today that the marine energy sector needs private sector support to match the public sector goodwill and finance.
Vella urged private debt providers to think long term.
“It certainly took quite a lot of private and public funding for the wind and solar sectors to take off,” said Vella.
“But look where they are now - the cost of wind turbines has dropped 30% since 2009. Energy from the seas is bound to get cheaper too.
“So there is a case to be made both for private and public investment but this requires far-sightedness.”
He added: “Banks, in particular, must get to know an unfamiliar sector, and accept to take on some of the initial risks.”
Vella also said he was hoping to increase the involvement of the European Investment Bank in the sector.
“My [staff] are also talking to the European Investment Bank. Earlier this month, I organised a workshop that brought the ocean energy industry and the Bank together,” he said.
“I want to make ocean energy more prominent in the Bank's operations in the future.”