Annual Report 2018
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BELGIUM

Dr. ir. Vicky Stratigaki University of Ghent

 

OVERVIEW

In the coastal province of West Flanders, Western part of Belgium, marine renewable energy is seen as a new emerging market, highly relevant for Flanders and Belgium. There are several initiatives promoting the development of the blue economy, including marine energies.

The ‘Strategic Framework for Smart Specialisation in Flanders’, describing the on-going policy process for proprietary areas in the innovation and strategy of Flanders, points out the sectors of Blue Economy, Blue Growth and Blue Energy in Flanders as prioritised areas. WESTDEAL is then focussing on West Flanders.

The West Flanders Development Agency (POM West Flanders), responsible for the implementation of the social economic policy of the Province of West Flanders, is supporting developments in the blue energy field, promoting the development of ocean energy technology by the academic sector and private companies. Factory of the Future “Blue Energy” is the action plan of the province of West-Flanders (POM). Moreover, POM has introduced TUA West, an agency that acts as a liaison between partners from various industries and civil society, supporting the triple helix model of establishing links between companies, knowledge institutions and governments. 

The Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) has been supporting a new ‘Innovative Business Network Offshore Energy’ since 2017 and in 2018 set up and a ‘Blue Cluster’ aimed at large companies & SMEs active in the blue economy sector, including marine energies.

Belgium has become member of the Europe Leading Blue Energy (ELBE) project aiming to position Europe as the world technological and industrial leader in “blue” energy.

A relevant European funded project - MET-CERTIFIED - coordinated by the Dutch Marine Energy Centre is developing recognised standards and certification schemes in the sector. Ghent University and POM are the Belgian partners in MET-CERTIFIED.

Ghent University is coordinating the recently approved COST Action CA17105 WECANet an open pan-European Network for Marine Renewable Energy with a focus on wave energy, which supports training, networking and collaboration in Europe. This project is funded by the European COST Association and involves 29 countries.

The Flemish wave energy developer Laminaria is developing a 200 kW prototype to be tested at EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site in 2019, through the European funded project LAMWEC.

Ghent University is strategic partner in the H2020 MARINERG-i project coordinated by the MaREI Centre at University College of Cork Ireland, which brings together all the European countries with significant testing capabilities in offshore renewable energy. MARINERG-i is developing a plan for an integrated European Research Infrastructure, an independent legal entity, designed to facilitate the future growth and development of the Offshore Renewable Energy sector. Ghent University is participating in MARINERG-i with marine energy technologies testing infrastructure which includes wave flumes and the new Coastal and Ocean Basin.