Governing the ocean from the dry land
(Universidade Católica Portuguesa Lisbon)
In April 2016, 95,5% of Portugal’s electricity generation came from renewable energies and with 6024 MW capacity installed in hydro, 5033 MW in wind, 566 MW in biomass, 474 MW in PV, and 29 MW in geothermal, energy transition is in full force, noticing the lack of ocean energy in these numbers. With an Economic Exclusive Maritime Zone (EEZ) that is the biggest and represents more than half of the total EEZ of the European Union, ocean energy has the potential to play a key role for the future of energy in Portugal. As the technology has progressed significantly in the past, this paper will focus on the review of the existing legislation at National level as well as the context of European Union legislation. As regulatory barriers are always an important factor to be taken into consideration, the paper will start by presenting the past of ocean energy in the EU and particularly in Portugal and then will make its way to representing the current situation and the importance to the economic development and achievement of RES goals. The paper will also compare the legislative efforts in Portugal with other Member States as well as with the framework in place regarding offshore wind energy, as the most comparable renewable source. Before concluding regarding the measures in place and the possible improvements for the future, a section paper will be dedicated to ongoing projects that have been green lighted by the European Commission under the Environmental State aid Guidelines.