WestWave, which is aiming to install and operate wave energy converters capable of generating 5MW of clean electricity by 2015 from the wave energy resources off Ireland’s west coast, is to be evaluated by the European Investment Bank under the EU New Entrant Reserve (NER) funding mechanism.
The NER300 fund is worth about €4.5bn to support carbon capture and sequestration and innovative renewable energy projects across the EU.
WestWave itself is a collaborative project being led by ESB along with wave energy technology partners such as Irish wave technology developers Wavebob and Ocean Energy and Scottish technology developers Aquamarine Power and Pelamis Wave Power.
According to ESB, the project is in line with its strategy to develop 150MW of electricity from ocean energy by 2020 and the Irish Government’s strategy to generate 500MW from ocean energy in the same timeframe.
ESB has also been awarded foreshore exploration licenses for the WestWave project by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, allowing it to conduct marine surveys and resource measurements at Killard Point in Co Clare and in the Achill Area in Co Mayo.
At each site, ESB will deploy wave measurement buoys to assess the wave climate and will undertake hydrographic surveys to assess seabed conditions. The survey work will also provide information for environmental studies of the areas.
ESB will carry out this research over the next two years and the studies will be used to identify the best location for the WestWave project. The third potential location proposed for WestWave is the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site, the national wave energy test site being developed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in Belmullet, Co Mayo.