Galway centre included in €12.8m ocean energy testing programme

21 Jan 2019

Image: © Jairo Díaz/

A new multimillion-euro programme will give ocean energy developers the chance to test their technology at Europe’s leading open sea test centres.

In a bid to boost Europe’s ability to generate renewable ocean energy, Interreg Europe – the EU’s regional development fund for environmental solutions – has launched a €12.8m project called Ocean Demo.

Its purpose is to provide funding for developers of marine renewable technologies to test their products or services in real sea environments, allowing them to move closer to market by demonstrating their technologies at full commercial scale.

This will give developers access to the continent’s leading open sea test centres, including SmartBay based in Galway. The other three centres include the European Marine Energy Centre in the UK (acting as the project leader), the Dutch Marine Energy Centre in the Netherlands and the Centrale Nantes/SEM-REV in France.

Interreg Europe sees this programme as key to transitioning ocean energy technology from single-machine concepts to pilots of large-scale farms, bringing down costs across the supply chain.

Could provide 400,000 jobs

Ocean Demo follows on from the FORESEA project, which provides free access to open sea test centres for single-machine testing, resulting in 19 technologies deployed, with more expected this year.

“We are very happy about Interreg’s steady support for ocean energy development in Europe. The ocean energy industry can provide jobs to 400,000 Europeans as well as 10pc of Europe’s electricity by 2050,” said Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe.

“Ocean Demo will be another significant step towards those objectives. Multi-device demonstration will strengthen the technology’s business case and attract investors, which will in turn allow the industry to scale up and bring down costs.”

The news comes a matter of days after the official launch of another Irish ocean test facility, Lir, based in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork. The facilities at Lir include four wave tanks that can replicate real ocean conditions and enable testing of various marine innovations, technologies and structures at different scales.

Also, it was recently revealed that 12 Irish companies in the marine sector are to benefit from grants of up to €200,000 each, adding up to €2.4m over the next three years.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic