SEAI doubles renewable energy research fund to €2m in 2017

15 Dec 2016

Renewable energy funding. Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has revealed it is to double its available funding for renewable energy projects in 2017, offering €2m to successful applicants.

In a bid to improve upon the less-than-successful adoption of sustainable energy programmes across the country over the past few years, the SEAI plans to double down on its renewable energy investment in 2017.

In a statement, the organisation said that its Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) fund will be increased from €1m to €2m.

The fund is open to Irish researchers in industry and academia, to support sustainable energy research into new market solutions that could help remove some of the barriers that block access to affordable clean energy technologies.

To that end, the SEAI has laid out a number of priority areas in which it will be looking for applications.

These areas include energy efficiency, citizen engagement and energy storage. It is also open to a wide range of proposal types including technology RD&D, field research, and feasibility studies.

Since 2002, the SEAI has provided €26m funding through its Energy RD&D programme that has included the recent funding of NovoGrid, an intelligent control system that enables PV solar generators to deliver more energy.

Among some of the other projects funded as part of this year’s effort include Terra GeoServ, which is developing a hybrid ground source and solar thermal system for the Irish market.

Signs of improvement

Commenting on the funding available, Dr Eimear Cotter, head of low-carbon technologies with the SEAI, said: “This comes on foot of a heavily oversubscribed programme in 2016, with high-quality applications across a broad range of sustainable energy research and development.

“This is a really strong indicator of the vibrancy of Ireland’s energy research environment across academia and industry.”

Despite Ireland lagging behind on its pre-approved carbon emission reduction targets, indications from the various renewable energy technologies report strong growth for the year.

In October, the Irish Wind Energy Association said that a heightened demand for wind turbines has created hundreds of jobs this year, with more to come.

Meanwhile, in the Irish renewable energy industry, Mainstream Renewable Power signed a $1.65bn contract to build seven wind energy plants in Chile, South America.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic