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A Momentous Day for Ocean Energy in Ireland

Sian George, CEO of the EU Ocean Energy Association, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD, John McSweeney, Head of Innovation, ESB at the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) Forum 2014

There is a real buzz amongst members of  the Ocean Energy industry in ireland at the moment with the announcement of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) at the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) Forum 2014.

The OREDP was published by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD at an ESB sponsored event on Friday 7th February in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin. There was a tangible excitement amongst the attendees all of whom welcomed  the support from the government to provide a framework for the sustainable development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resources.

As Minister Pat Rabbitte opened the proceedings, he highlighted ESB’s high level of activity in Ocean Energy in Ireland, the level of expertise built up in ESB in Ocean Energy and commended the company’s work on the Westwave project. The Minister said, “Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres, but a sea area of around 10 times that size, at 900,000 square kilometres. Ireland’s position at the Atlantic edge of the EU gives an almost unparalleled offshore energy resource, with suitable conditions available for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.”

According to the plan there is scope to potentially generate a minimum of 1,500MW from ocean energy, without any significant adverse impact on the environment. The policy outlines an initial market support scheme for  the early phases of ocean energy development in Ireland. The OREDP identifies the opportunity for Ireland to increase indigenous production of renewable electricity, thereby contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improving the security of our energy supply and creating jobs in the green economy.

“Ireland’s oceans have the potential, in time, to provide large quantities of indigenous, renewable energy and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, generating significant jobs and growth in the economy”. said John McSweeney, Head of Innovation, ESB. “However, early stage Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) is critical if we are to realise the ultimate aim of progressing to a larger commercial scale projects. The plan published today gives a significant boost to the sector in this regard.”

Brendan Barry, Manager, Emerging Energy Technologies, ESB provided a comprehensive overview on the details of the WestWave project (see www.westwave.ie) and leading technology developers in the area of Ocean Energy technology were in attendance to provided updates on the significant progress being made in testing and demonstrating wave and tidal devices.

Representatives from Northern Ireland & Scotland were also present  indicating the interest in Ireland’s potential for development of Ocean Energy and the possibility for collaboration possibilities. Additionally, UCC presented on their SFI and industry funded research programme in Marine Renewable Energy, a project  which the ESB Westwave project team are  involved in and are collaborating on.

Pictured: Sian George, CEO of the EU Ocean Energy Association, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte TD, John McSweeney, Head of Innovation, ESB at the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) Forum 2014, sponsored by ESB

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