The role of offshore test sites


Today, energy transition requires an active search for solutions. Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) is possible solution. This is why a major acceleration in the development of Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) is underway.
> Read more about the role of MREs in ecological transition

In the broadest sense of the term, MRE covers all technologies used to produce electricity from offshore resources such as wind (fixed or floating wind turbines), waves (wave turbines), currents (tidal turbines), temperature gradient (OTEC) or solar energy (floating photovoltaics).


Test sites provide the platform for a prototype’s or demonstrator’s "maiden flight" in Marine Renewable Energy. Test sites therefore constitute essential infrastructure for hosting grid-connected and off-grid offshore test projects, as well as experimental research actions linked to environmental knowledge and interactions with technologies.

They contribute to the emergence of local ecosystems that bring together academic and institutional players with economic and industrial players. They are also a key factor in attractiveness and European and international influence.
Test sites speed up technological innovation for the benefit of energy transition and facilitate testing in real conditions for projects between the laboratory and the pre-commercial stage (pilot sites).

78% of stakeholders surveyed believe that the provision of offshore testing facilities is a major issue, with priority given to academics and companies providing services / suppliers in the project value chain

according to a survey conducted by SER, FEE, FEM, ECN, ADEME, RTE, PMM and PMBA involving seventy-five stakeholders in 2020.


  • Test, optimise and certify prototypes in order to make future commercial projects more reliable
  • Test key components/equipment: sensors, robotics (ROV, AUV, drones), etc.
  • Test HV-AC and HV-DC connection sub-systems
  • Improve the reliability of marine operation procedures for installation and O&M
  • Ensure environmental monitoring during offshore tests and on sites themselves
  • Interact on a local level with stakeholders
  • Host experimental research projects: knowledge and understanding of the environment and its evolution
  • Disseminate knowledge to the scientific community and the general public
A test site is defined by its capacity to host technology demonstration projects for short periods of time.

Using a test site provides the following benefits:
  • Existing permits,
  • Grid-connection infrastructure for energy export and test supervision,
  • Site characterisation data and feedback from a support team,
  • A specific economic model, with a favourable feed-in tariff,
  • An organisation in place to facilitate access to components tested at sea,
  • A large network of partners to develop innovation and knowledge.

These test facilities considerably reduce the costs, planning and risks of offshore testing, thus accelerating experimental development and promoting innovation.
Published on November 2, 2022 Updated on October 30, 2023