Irish energy firm riding the crest of investment wave

28 Sep 2010

The US government has awarded an Irish energy company with funding for further development of ocean energy technology.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said that the Co Kildare-based firm, Wavebob, will receive more than $2.8m (€1.8m) from the US Department of Energy, as part of a contract to develop its eponymous wave energy converter (WEC) for 2013.

Ryan added that the way forward for Ireland was through renewable energy and the need to use our own homegrown energy and create the new Irish jobs was paramount.

“The Irish Government is committed to the development and commercialisation of ocean energy. Wavebob is an innovative Irish company that is thriving even in this tough economic climate, securing one investment after another from major energy utilities at home and abroad,” said Ryan.

3.6m investment

He also announced that Bord Gáis will to invest a further €1.8m in the company, bringing the total investment in Wavebob to €3.6m.

John Mullins, CEO of Bord Gáis, reiterated the need for advancement in renewable energy technologies.

“It is important that utilities such as Bord Gáis foster the development of companies like Wavebob, to enable them to advance their technology,” he said.

The grant forms part of $37m in marine and hydrokinetic energy grants announced by the US department and will be used to further develop Wavebob’s WEC. At full scale, the device is expected to be capable of producing more than 1 megawatt of energy with average output in excess of 500kW at sites in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

“The Department of Energy’s funding program for marine hydrokinetic technologies is vital to the development of both products and markets, at home and abroad. We are honoured to be selected for this award,” commented Derek Robertson, president of Wavebob’s US operations based in Annapolis, Maryland, US.

Three years ago, the Wavebob became one of the first WECs in the world to successfully produce electricity from ocean swell.