Published: Fri, 17 April 2015
Two Irish projects, based in Cork and Clare, will demonstrate the potential that can be unleashed from Ocean Energy, according to Seán Kelly MEP who addressed the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and other attendees at the Ocean Energy Forum held in Brussels this week. Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) were represented at the high-level meeting, at which Mr Kelly was the guest speaker.
The Ireland South MEP was keen to point out that technological advancement will be crucial in the coming years: “Emphasis on developing renewable technologies, such as ocean energy, is vital if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase our share of renewables and reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels,” he explained.
“The ocean energy sector is now facing the challenges of proving the survivability of installations in all conditions, and their reliability in terms of efficiency, increasing the total time they can produce energy during the year, and reducing unplanned maintenance.
“Achieving cost reductions will be needed to send the right signals to policy makers and investors, and this will come through further innovation, experience and economies of scale.”
MEP Kelly told the audience that demonstration projects are required to highlight the potential of ocean energy. Ireland is very much at the forefront in this regard as projects begin to take the considerable step from prototype development to full-scale demonstration. Mr Kelly cited Irish activities in this sector as an example, giving particular mention to the new Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) research centre in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, and the WestWave project in Killard, near Doonbeg in Co Clare.
“The WestWave project is a significant one for the sector as it will look to demonstrate the durability and reliability of wave energy technology, generating an initial 5MW of clean renewable electricity from our plentiful resources on the west coast. Success for WestWave will pave the way for future commercial projects.
“Additionally, the new MaREI centre, set to open in July, is a hugely encouraging development and will allow our researchers to lead the way in maintaining Europe’s global technology leadership in ocean energy”, he added.
The Ocean Energy Forum was established in April 2014 to bring stakeholders together to work on the various issues that currently hinder further progress in the ocean energy sector. Ireland is considered to have one of the best offshore renewable energy resources in the world with significant potential to utilise these resources to generate carbon free renewable electricity.