Irish marine energy firms receive €3.5m in SEAI funding

20 Oct 2015

Three Irish marine energy firms are to receive a significant funding boost of €3.5m from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for the development and testing of new ocean energy technologies.

It would appear to be a particularly good time to be one of the growing number of Irish marine energy firms following news that €4.5m is to be set aside for research in the area as part of Budget 2016.

And now, some of this is already being rolled out to three of these companies — OceanEnergy, Sea Power and GKinetic Energy — with the announcement being made at today’s Ocean Energy Europe conference in Dublin.

The single biggest recipient of funding is Cork-based OceanEnergy, which is to receive €2.3m to design and build a full-scale version of its Ocean Energy (OE) Buoy wave energy converter, which will be deployed and tested at the US Navy Wave Energy Test Site in Hawaii.

The company has also confirmed that this funding will be matched by an additional €4.5m from the US Department of Energy, making it one of Ireland’s largest multinational ocean energy projects.

‘Exciting time for ocean energy in Ireland’

As part of the remaining funding, SeaPower is expected to receive more than €1m to test its wave energy converter at quarter-scale in Galway Bay, while GKinetic Energy will receive €200,000 to conduct towing tests of its Tidal Turbine System in Limerick Docks.

Commenting on the growth of the ocean energy sector, Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI, said: “This is an exciting time for ocean energy in Ireland. With a sea area 10-times our land mass, this market has the potential to be worth €15bn to Ireland’s economy by 2050. Already, Irish companies are making innovative technology developments and we are sending a message globally that Ireland is open for ocean energy business.”

One of the keynote speakers at today’s event was EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella who said of ocean energy’s potential: ”Ocean energy could meet 10pc of the EU’s power demand by 2050. This is a huge opportunity for the EU, which currently imports more than half of its energy needs, with an annual price tag of €400bn.

“With 45pc of wave energy companies and 50pc of tidal energy companies worldwide coming from the EU, we have a good chance to maintain leadership in a growing global market”.

Wave image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic