ESA title

Marine Energy

  • Activity Feasibility Study
  • Opening date 18-09-2020
  • Closing date 17-11-2020


Oceans represent an enormous untapped resource of clean and renewable energy. It is estimated that 100 GW of marine energy capacity can be deployed in Europe by 2050, meeting 10% of Europe’s current electricity needs.

Ocean energy has the potential to play a significant role in the future energy system, whilst contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions, mitigating climate change and stimulating economic growth.

A variety of technologies that can harvest the vast amount of energy stored in oceans and seas have been deployed or are in development. These are grouped into different resource types: wave energy converters, tidal range and tidal stream devices, ocean thermal energy converters, salinity gradient technologies, and offshore floating solar.

This environment presents new cross-sectoral cooperation opportunities for the marine energy and the space industry to come up with new commercial solutions. For the purpose of this study, ESA Space Solutions has established a cooperation with the Dutch Marine Energy Centre, who will provide feedback to the study results and contribute with inputs towards potential follow-on demonstration projects.

Dutch Marine Energy Centre (DMEC) is an international consultancy organisation in the marine energy sector. Their belief is that the enormous amount of energy stored in our oceans, seas and rivers will be a crucial driver to realise our global energy transition and foster sustainable growth. By accelerating innovation, mobilising capital and shaping policies, they create impactful energy solutions.


The following scenarios have been identified as key focus areas:

Logistics and operation of marine energy installations 
Support of logistics of marine energy installation, operations and maintenance (O&M) activities. Installation, as well as O&M missions are notoriously dependent upon periods of suitable weather conditions, and are significantly expensive, due to high costs of required specialised vessels. Integrated monitoring solutions that take into account weather and external factors are required to predict potential delays during installation, O&M phases and estimate their cost impact. Unmanned vessels, remote monitoring and supporting applications tailored to the specific needs of marine energy O&M missions could be relevant as enabling technology, catering for the needs of improved safety and efficiency of operations.

Increase durability and survival of marine energy installations
Marine energy devices are deployed over a long duration in a very harsh environment (corrosive, high loads, collisions). Developers are in a continuous need of materials and technical processes, which can help to increase the durability and reliability of their devices.

Resource assessment at different sites (including hence - and forecast, risk analysis, bankability)
The correct site to deploy the marine energy devices for tests as well as full scale operations is core to understand associated risks and potentials for specific technologies (wind, wave, tidal, temperature, salinity). An analysis of the conditions at specific sites can inform the business case and the potential return of investment for the investor. Combined with estimations of the associated risks, private investors are facilitated to leverage their investment with public funding.

Supporting environmental impact assessment of marine energy
In spite of the environmental benefits of marine energy in terms of emissions reductions, there are potential negative and positive impacts that developments may have on the marine environment and coastal areas. In order to obtain relevant approvals and permits for installations and operations, environmental impact of commissioning, operations and potentially decommissioning of marine energy plants need to be assessed and carefully monitored.



Space-based assets can play a key role in the development of these services.

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) can be useful for:

  • provision of weather and sea status forecast for planning and optimisation of operations during construction and maintenance phases;
  • measurement of ocean parameters such as temperature, height of the waves, salinity and speed of the ocean currents for providing energy forecasting and consequently understanding power plant profitability;
  • monitoring the environmental impact and compare the surrounding prior to - and after deployment.

Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can be useful for:

  • positioning of assets as input to logistics during installation phase;
  • automation of assets lifting during installation phase (through augmented Global Navigation Satellite System).

Satellite Communication (SatCom) can be useful for:

  • communication between offshore and shore, including M2M (for process automation and end-to-end business processes) and voice and data during installation and maintenance phases.


ESA Space Solutions will provide funding to successful teams looking to investigate the technical feasibility and economic viability of space-based applications in support of marine energy solutions, and define a roadmap for services implementation and demonstration.

The activities will be 100% funded up to €150K per activity.


We look for teams that have identified an attractive market opportunity with real potential to engage customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. We want to hear about your ideas that involve utilisation of either space technology or space data. 

For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The applicable funding level of the individual prime - or subcontractors is subject to authorisation by the involved National Delegation(s). Therefore, bidding teams are requested to obtain a Letter of Authorisation from all the respective National Delegations before submitting the Proposal.


Responding to an open competitive Invitation to Tender (ITT) requires the submission of a Proposal. The Proposal will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures.

The consequential evaluation of proposals results in a recommendation for a winning bid. In the case that several proposals of good quality targeting different and/or complementary aspects are submitted, the Agency reserves the right to place parallel contracts for each of the open competitive ITTs in coordination with the relevant national delegations.

For the fully detailed Proposal Guide on competitive ITTs click: Open Competition.

Registration as Bidder

The Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star, prior to downloading the official tender documents from EMITS (which will be available as soon as the ITT is open) and submitting their Proposal. The registration process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.


  • "Marine Energy Meets Space" Virtual Workshop: 08 September 2020 - 11:00 CEST
  • Webinar: 15 September 2020 - 11:00 CEST