The WestWave marine power project being developed by the Electricity Supply Board of Ireland (ESBI) off the country’s Atlantic coast has been awarded €23 Million by the European Commission under the EU New Entrant Reserve (NER300) funding mechanism.
ESBI WestWave will develop the first wave energy project in Ireland by 2018, generating an initial 5MW (equivalent to the electricity consumption of households in nearby Kilrush and Kilkee) of clean renewable electricity from the plentiful wave energy resource available off the west coast of Ireland.
The project team is already developing the site at Killard, near Doonbeg, Co. Clare and procuring technology designs to deploy the pioneering wave energy generators. Construction is expected to start in 2016 with ocean power being generated in 2018.
This innovative project will demonstrate Ireland’s ability to construct, deploy and operate wave energy converters successfully. It will also pave the way for future commercial projects by demonstrating technology, developing the supply-chain, gaining public acceptance and sharing learnings for follow-on projects in Ireland.
Ocean Energy offers an exciting opportunity for Ireland given the abundant resource off the West Coast. As a clean and environmentally friendly source of energy it has the potential for significant economic and employment benefits and reduces our reliance on imported fossil fuels through providing an additional renewable energy source.
John McSweeney, Head of Innovation, ESBI, commented, “Ireland’s oceans have the potential to provide large quantities of indigenous, renewable energy and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Demonstration projects like ESB WestWave are critical if we are to realise the ultimate aim of progressing to larger commercial scale projects and a low carbon future. The funding award announced today is a huge boost to the ESB Westwave project and to Ocean Energy development in Ireland and Europe.”
Pat Rabbitte, TD, Energy Minister, Republic of Ireland, said: “As identified in the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan, which I published earlier this year, the ocean energy sector holds real potential for growth in the green economy and jobs in our coastal communities, both here in Ireland and along the western seaboard of the EU.
“Ireland’s position at the Atlantic edge of the EU provides us with an almost unparalleled ocean energy resource.
“It is now critical that the sector moves ahead with device deployment. I am very pleased to see the ESB taking a lead role in rising to the international challenge of bringing wave energy technology to commercial maturity.”