Meteolien Experts Energies Renouvelables

Marine Renewable Energy

Marine Renewable Energy (MRE)

The ocean, a barely exploited source of energy

When we think of renewable energies, we immediately think of photovoltaics, onshore wind power and hydroelectric power plants that harness the energy of our flowing water. But there are many other ways of producing green electricity, notably from the oceans.

The oceans are the planet’s greatest untapped source of energy. They cover 70% of the earth’s surface and are subject to powerful movements. Thus, they hold great potential for renewable energies. This potential has been recognized for some years now, and the deployment of marine energy technologies has been accelerating all over the world, and particularly in Europe.

What is Marine Renewable Energy and what are  its sources?

Marine renewable energy refers to all the renewable energy resources found in the marine environment: offshore wind, currents (oceanic or tidal), swell, the temperature gradient between warm surface and cold deep waters, and the difference in salinity.

Each of these energy resources can be converted into valuable energy, mainly electricity, using specific devices:

  • Offshore wind turbines, both floating and mounted, harness offshore winds;
  • tidal turbines convert current energy into electrical energy;
  • Wave-powered technologies generate electricity from wave movements;
  • Ocean hermal Energy  Conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature differential between surface and deep waters to drive a thermodynamic cycle to generate electricity. This principle can also be used to generate cool air for buildings or fresh water.
  • Osmotic power is based on the difference in salinity between seawater and freshwater such as river water. It uses a semi-permeable membrane through which a flow of water is formed, which can then be used to power up a device.

houlomoteur énergies marines                   centrale houlomotrice

Photos : Corpower, Crestwing

A genuine relevance and ambitious objectives for the development of MRE

Ocean currents and waves have the advantage of being predictable several years in advance. As a result, there is less uncertainty over the amount of electricity generated by tidal turbines and wave power plants. Moreover, almost 45% of Europeans live in coastal regions, close to marine energy delivery points, which makes them particularly relevant.

At European level, the Green Deal is aiming to achieve an installed capacity of at least 60 GW of offshore wind and 1 GW of ocean energy (wave and tidal) by 2030, and 300 GW and 40 GW respectively by 2050.

éolien offshore, énergies marines

Marine Renewable Energy at Meteolien

Meteolien’s marine renewable energy services

Meteolien carries out yield and wind ressource studies (offshore), in addition to wave and tidal studies during the pre-feasibility and feasibility phases.

Its experts then process the data measured at sea, correlating them with models to deduce long-term yields.

Meteolien produces wave atlases and provides wave databases (significant heights, time periods, energy densities, etc.) and currents (long-term average speeds, energy densities, etc.).

Key Marine Renewable Energy projects

The Wave Energy Atlas of French Polynesia

Meteolien has successfully completed the Wave Energy Atlas project for French Polynesian, funded by the French Polynesian Department of Energy, ADEME and Ys Energies Marines Développement. This wave atlas covers the whole of French Polynesia, a territory almost the size of Europe.

These open data are useful for climatology and the study of climate change.

Tahiti Wave Energy Challenge “TWEC”

In addition, wave atlas data are also being used to estimate the wave energy potential of the studied area as part of the TWEC , a wave energy system demonstrator to be installed in Tahiti with the aim of demonstrating its potential in real life conditions.

Meteolien participated in the concept definition and pre-feasibility of this project as part of a contract for the University of French Polynesia.


Meteolien took part in the EMR Caraïbes project . Its experts carried out modelling of current and wave resource assessment, and highlighted the areas of the Caribbean arc with the most attractive resources for future projects. This atlas was the basis on which all the other work packages were able to work.

Resource and yield studies in metropolitan France

Meteolien has already carried out around 15 resource and/or yield studies along the Atlantic coast of metropolitan France since 2019.

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