Ireland to lead €10.5m EU marine renewable energy project

2 Feb 2017

Image: Dr Jimmy Murphy, coordinator of MaRINET2, and Katie Lynch, research engineer at MaREI. Image: Diane Cusack

The Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland centre based in University College Cork will lead a €10.5m EU project to accelerate offshore renewable energy technology and infrastructure.

Surrounded by an ocean and strong winds – at least on the western coast – Ireland has for some time been envisioned as a potential hot spot for marine renewable energy development.

With help from the Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) centre in University College Cork (UCC) and the EU, this reality could be one step closer.

Project will run until 2021

In an announcement, UCC revealed that the MaREI centre will lead the €10.5m EU MaRINET2 initiative, which aims to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

Under the first MaRINET funding cycle, 178 projects and 800 companies received backing from the EU to develop advanced technologies.

At the second phase of funding for the project, UCC said that by its conclusion in 2021, it will have hopefully opened up access to 57 test facilities across 13 European countries.

Rather than just a UCC project however, the funding will be distributed to Irish organisations including SmartBay Ireland, University of Limerick (UL) and National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).

Ireland ‘leading internationally in the ocean energy sector’

MaRINET2 is a network of 39 partners, involving research centres and organisations cooperating to progress offshore renewable energy technologies such as wave, tidal and offshore-wind.

It achieves this through marine energy development companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers with fully-funded access to marine energy experts and advanced test facilities.

Speaking at the launch of the MaRINET2 project, coordinator Dr Jimmy Murphy said: “By offering European-wide access to marine energy testing, we ensure that the best facilities and expertise in the world are being made available to more people, and that developers are saving several thousands of euro during critical development phases of their technology.”

Also at the launch was the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s CEO, Jim Gannon, who added: “Ireland is truly leading internationally in the ocean energy sector and the announcement of the Irish-led MaRINET2 is testimony to that.”

This news follows another funding announcement for Dundalk IT, which has been chosen to lead a new €3m water quality research programme as part of the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie fund.

The individual breakdown of funding for Irish organisations is as follows:

UCC: €1.14m

NUIG: €260,073

SmartBay Ireland: €160, 252

UL: €63,996

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic