Growing energy demand has increased interest in marine renewable energy resources (i.e., wave energy, which is harvested through wave energy converter (WEC) arrays. However, the wave energy industry is currently at a significant juncture in its development, facing a number of challenges which require that research re-focuses on a holistic techno-economic perspective, where the economics considers the full life cycle costs of the technology. It also requires development of WECs suitable for niche markets, because in Europe there are inequalities regarding wave energy resources, wave energy companies, national programs and investments. As a result, in Europe there are leading and non-leading countries in wave energy technology. The sector also needs to increase confidence of potential investors by reducing (non-)technological risks. This can be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach by involving engineers, economists, environmental scientists, lawyers, regulators and policy experts. Consequently, the wave energy sector needs to receive the necessary attention compared to other more advanced and commercial offshore energy technologies (e.g., offshore wind). The formation of the first open pan-European network with an interdisciplinary approach will contribute to large-scale WEC array deployment by dealing with the current bottlenecks. The WECANet (Wave Energy Converter Array Network) European COST Action, introduced in September 2018 and presented in this paper, aims at a collaborative and inclusive approach, as it provides a strong networking and collaboration platform that also creates the space for dialogue between all stakeholders in wave energy. An important characteristic of the Action is that participation is open to all parties interested and active in the development of wave energy. Previous activities organised by WECANet core group members have resulted in a number of joint European projects and scientific publications. WECANet’s main target is the equal research, training, networking, collaboration and funding opportunities for all researchers and professionals, regardless of age, gender and country in order to obtain understanding of the main challenges governing the development of the wave energy sector.
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