10 Dec 2020

How to engage clusters in Blue Energy
Renewable energy is essential for economic and sustainable development. In this regard, the seas and oceans are an abundant source of renewable energy (Blue Energy or Blue Energy -BE-).

This energy can contribute to greater penetration of renewable energy into the territory, responding to climate change and promoting energy independence from fossil fuels. It is therefore presented as a technological resource that is inescapable to explore, especially in those spaces that have marine areas where these facilities can be easily implemented. Clusters, as a group of interrelated institutions, business and companies working in the same industrial sector and strategically collaborating for common benefits, are presented as key parts in the development of the BE. But what role can energy clusters play in such initiatives? Clusters bring together, to a lesser or greater extent, almost the entire renewable sector of the territory where they are deployed. This feature gives them a leading role, since among their partners it has all the spectrum necessary to address with guarantees the implementation of these energy initiatives; from knowledge and research (universities, knowledge centers, R+D centers) to generation, distribution and marketing companies and business.

The ultimate mission is to respond to an increasing demand for renewable electricity, if possible, with the best available technologies. In this sense, a cluster of renewable energies plays a cross-cutting vertebrate role. Its purposes include the representation and defence of the renewable sector, as well as the promotion of research, technological development and innovation of products, processes and services, associated with the field of renewable energies. All this in the framework of collaboration and cooperation between its members, promoting the competitiveness of companies in the national and international market. The BE is another renewable technology that must be part of the target of energy clusters and for which all those partners interested in their implementation must be involved. In addition, intermediation before the administration is part of its own identity so that it is legislating in the right direction; the promotion of research, innovation and development, not only of the different technologies, but also of their impact on the marine environment and the promotion of the implementation in their territory, always with the greatest environmental guarantees.

Clusters are the spearhead for general BE recognition. The promotion of studies at different territorial levels on the social perception of such technologies should be part of work, increasing and improving the knowledge that the population may have about it, for which it is necessary to seek outreach campaigns in the media that publicize the importance of ocean energy and how it can be released for use. In addition, they must play an important role in the financing of facilities, vehiculating the direct aid and subsidies available, both at EU level, nationally or regionally, without obviating the raising of other structural development funds that may include such initiatives among their beneficiaries. This is a crucial element, since the mobilization of economic resources allows to balance economic and social development with the implementation of the BE, creating wealth and generating employment, determining factors for the social acceptance of such technologies, often well above the sustainability of the energy source itself. In this sense, the Blue Deal project is a good initiative in this regard, as it will create an enabling environment for investments in BE and the development of sustainable actions in the Mediterranean area.