Galway’s SmartBay part of €11m ocean energy project

14 Jul 2016

A new programme to fund open-sea testing for ocean energy has been announced, with €11m made available to four companies in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

Galway-based SmartBay has been included on the latest north-west Europe funding project, with ocean energy the order of the day.

Part of a four-partner programme called FORESEA (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action), SmartBay will help demonstrate tidal, wave and offshore wind energy technologies in real sea conditions.

SmartBay Ocean Energy

“Europe is currently leading the world in ocean energy development,” said Oliver Wragg, commercial director at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), another of the partner companies.

“The FORESEA programme will help cement this lead by stimulating a critical mass of technology development activity, bridging the gap between ocean renewables R&D and the marketplace.”

SmartBay supports the testing and validation of novel marine and maritime sensors and equipment, and of ocean energy conversion devices, at the one-quarter scale site in Galway Bay.

The reason it, alongside EMEC, SEM-REV and Tidal Testing Centre, is included in this programme is to provide scalable findings, so that full commercial introduction into ocean energy is less costly.

The name SmartBay might ring a bell as, only last month, its subsea observatory just off the Galway coast kicked into gear.

Supported by the Marine Institute, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, it will be used to collect valuable data from the ocean and will be a critical component of a world-class maritime infrastructure in Ireland.

“The SmartBay observatory represents the IoT for the marine,” explained John Breslin, GM of the SmartBay Observatory.

“Thanks to the extensive underwater equipment we have installed, real-time data from sensors can be accessed through the web and analysed by researchers and companies trying to commercialise novel marine technologies.”

Wave image via Graham Cook on Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic