The last 12-15 of April 2021, the Blue Growth Community attended the 1st Transferring Lab (on-line event), organized by the BLUE DEAL project in the island of Crete (Greece).

This event was the opportunity for the Blue Growth Community (BGC) to learn more about the methodology of the “Blue Deal Labs” (their main elements, composition, how they work and real possibilities for Marine Renewable Energy planning), a key result/tool coming from the BLUE DEAL project.

Moreover, it was also the occasion to invite representatives of specific Mediterranean Regions (which in previous events, organized by the BGC, showed an interest for MRE planning in their territories) to attend the BLUE DEAL Transferring Lab. This was a prerequisite in order to participate to the transfer-training event on Marine Renewable Energies (1st part), based on the BLUE DEAL methodology, organized by the BGC that will take place on the 22nd of April 2021.

The 1st BLUE DEAL Transferring Lab consisted of 4-day sessions:

1. During the first day, the main representatives from CRES, UNISI, ENEA and DG-MARE, explained the overall necessity for Marine Renewable Energy and the required framework and synergies. The need for transnational cooperation along with a coherent legislative framework was pointed out.

2. The second day was devoted to the core of the participatory planning approach, tackling scenarios of MRE implementation for the island of Crete. The vision for the energy regime in Crete by 2030 was shared with the audience. The steps followed for the planning were explained by specialists focusing on the mapping of the blue energy potential in Crete. The methodology includes the construction of a GIS data collection system (data for bathymetry, energy potential, etc.), identification of areas with high energy potential, ensuring minimum disturbance for the environment and interference with other sectors and selection of efficient MRE technologies.

Based on this approach, a specific quantified scenario of offshore wind farms was presented including technical aspects, costs, expected production, etc. This was followed by presentations of experts raising cultural and bio-diversity protection issues and challenges. Finally, the results of the survey conducted (around 26.000 residents have taken part to the survey) were presented showing the great interest and support for blue energy installations, but also the concern regarding the noise, the visual impact and effects on flora and fauna.

3. The third day was dedicated to Industry. The discussion focused on the investment landscape for offshore wind development in Greece, including the country’s political and geostrategic challenges, the significant domestic added value that offshore wind can provide, as well as other key needs. In addition, example cases of pilot projects in Canary Islands and Heraklion were presented along with examples of funding renewable energy projects and installations.

Closing, the Blue Deal partners launched the “Open Innovation Challenge” that aims to promote the efficient matching of ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ of innovation in the Blue Energy sector.

4. The Lab was completed on the fourth day named “Teens Day”, by approaching the young audience, i.e. students. Many Greek students had the opportunity to learn about the concepts of climate change and blue energy and to navigate through virtual cases of marine energy through the “visualization tool” developed within Blue Deal project. Their interest was great and this was evident from the questions they asked about environmental protection, efficiency of blue energy technologies, installation and maintenance issues, among others.

This 1st BLUE DEAL Transferring Lab will be followed by two more BLUE DEAL Transferring Labs in Croatia and in Cyprus in the coming months.

It must be mentioned that, as a Horizontal Project, the Blue Growth Community is supporting the transferring and capitalization processes of the main tools resulting from all the Mediterranean Blue Growth projects.

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