Why & How

Results from the INTERREG-MED projects MAESTRALE and PELAGOS showed that Blue Energy (BE) is rarely considered in energy strategies at national and regional level. The lack of clear rules and procedural tools for BE deployment, together with low potentials and early technology stage, induces decision makers to avoid any intervention, often preventing private companies from investing in such technologies.

Nevertheless, pilot projects developed in MAESTRALE and the PELAGOS transnational cluster demonstrate that BE initiatives can be successfully planned in MED regions.

In line with Priority Axis 1, BLUE DEAL intends to pursue a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by supporting and promoting BE deployment.

Main challenges concern how to:

  • Improve the production of renewable energy from marine sources in different MED regions
  • Promote BE development potential for a smart blue growth, also through the empowerment of public institutions and SMEs
  • Strengthen the connection and cooperation between research, innovation policy and businesses (especially SMEs) by
  • establishing local and transnational public-private BE deployment alliances, inclusive for citizens
  • Identify opportunities and solutions for self-sufficiency of small communities, especially in islands through small scale solutions, also considering the linkage between energy independence and sustainability of seasonal tourist flows (pursued by projects within Axis 3).
  • Raise awareness and actions for social innovation on BE, e.g. social acceptance, job opportunities and quality, shared property of energy plants
  • Ensure environmental, social, economic sustainability through specific assessments to ensure feasibility and long term management of BE plants

How does the project contribute to wider strategies and policies?

BLUE DEAL will help accelerate the deployment of BE initiatives in the Mediterranean, in line with the EU Blue Growth Strategy, the EC Communication ‘Blue Growth–Opportunities for Marine and Maritime Sustainable Growth’, and the WESTMED Initiative –Goal 2, Priority 2.1, Action ‘Develop tailor-made solutions and new technologies to harness marinerenewable energies and to mitigate and adapt to climate change’.

BLUE DEAL intends to define, test and disseminate effective practices and tools to enable SMEs to start-up new businesses inthe BE sector, and public administrations to improve procedures for integrating BE in national and regional energy polies, in the planning and management of coastal zones, in maritimegovernance and in RIS3 strategies.

This is in line with the BLUEMED Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (2018) that proposes the use of integrated decision tools for selecting appropriate sites for offshore installations, to addressthe challenge of Governance of maritime space and marine resources in the Mediterranean.

BLUE DEAL outputs will also respond to the Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap issued by the EU Ocean Energy Forum, that proposes to de-riskenvironmental consenting of BE plants through an integrated programme of measures that will develop guidance on planning,consenting, research, socio-economics and demonstration.

Coherently, BLUE DEAL contributes to face current challenges such as the lack of planning advice/tools to aid developers select sites, and the lack of clear consenting/licensing processes, considering that Med Countries marginally or never mention BEs in their National Energy Strategies and Regional authorities do not have proper references to plan their implementation orevaluate and license private investors’ proposals.