20/01/2015

Blue energies in ports and clusters

Despite their very immature stage of implementation, it appears that blue energies are well suited to the Mediterranean. Indeed, the availability of natural resources that can be capitalized by the blue energy sector is quite high and could be more than sufficient to constitute a real impulse for the use of marine energies. Moreover, blue energies are a cross-cutting issue that involve other relevant sectors such as tourism, aquaculture, shipbuilding and ship repair, transport activities, from which synergies could be enhanced through the role of maritime clusters. In this sense, blue energies could also be integrated as a reliable and sustainable source of energy for Mediterranean ports, contributing to the sustainable and economic development of the basin.
For example, in the framework of the SMART-PORT project, that looks forward to defining the smart-port concept so as to adapt traditional ports to more competitive, sustainable and energetic ones, energy consumption constitutes one of the 3 main pillars to take into account for a port to be “smart”. The possibilities of implementation and integration of renewable energies into ports installations in order to cover their energy demands partially or totally are huge and have multiples applications.
Even though the potential for blue energies implementation in the Mediterranean, the concrete development of the blue energy market implies important challenges to be tackled.

For example, more data are needed in order to identify hot spots for the development of blue energy installations while avoiding interferences with other main maritime activities. Progress is also still to be made in order to deal with environmental considerations and social acceptance as specified by the BLUENE,ENERCOAST and Med-IAMER projects. The fulfillment of Maritime Spatial Planning should help solving possible conflicts related to the maritime uses of the sea while encourage social acceptance as regards blue energy installations in the Basin.

Finally, as underlined by the CoRINThos project, the creation of synergies  through clusters between marine renewable energies stakeholders and stakeholders from other maritime industries would favour the penetration of blue energy on the Mediterranean economic market and encourage the increase of blue energy share in main maritime sectors. 
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