Three Irish marine energy firms are to receive €3.5m in State funding to develop and test new ocean energy technologies. The announcement was made at a major two-day European conference on ocean energy in Dublin.

Open Hydro ICOE2012

Open Hydro’s tidal stream device attracts interest at the 4th International Ocean Energy Conference in Dublin, October 20-21. Photo Shay Fennelly/Aquaphoto

Administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Ocean Energy secured €2.3m to design and build a full-scale version of their Ocean Energy (OE) Buoy wave energy converter which will be deployed and tested at the US Navy Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii. The funding is matched by €4.5m from the US Department of Energy in a collaboration between Ireland and US using Irish ocean energy technology.

SeaPower will receive €1m to test their wave energy coverter at quarter scale in Galway Bay while GKinetic will receive €200,000 to conduct towing tests of their Tidal Turbine System in Limerick Docks.

Speaking today to delegates from the US, Canada, Australia and throughout Europe, Alex White, Irealnd’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said he was “committed” to seeing the ocean energy sector deliver on its potential:

“I believe that Ireland has put in place the right building blocks to unlock the enormous potential around us. Collaboration is key. Ireland is open for business, and keen to explore collaborative opportunities – whether with our near neighbours or further afield, such as with the US.”

International collaboration is identified in Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan as a ‘key policy action’ to enable development of the sector. 

SEAI chief executive Brian Motherway called it an “exciting time” for ocean energy in Ireland: “With a sea area ten times our land mass, this market has the potential to be worth €15bn to Ireland’s economy by 2050.

Tony Lewis, Ocean Energy, said the funding was a “milestone project” and a “welcome endorsement” – not only for ocean energy but for the entire marine renewables industry”.

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