The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has announced funding of $1.8 million for environmental and feasibility studies at ESB’s Westwave project which aims to deploy five wave energy devices off the coast of County Clare by 2018.
This announcement brings Ireland another step closer to capturing its great ocean energy resource for electricity generation. In time, this will further reduce Ireland’s reliance on costly fossil fuel imports, according to Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
SEAI has been working closely with ESB for the past three years on the ESB Westwave project which represents one of the most significant efforts worldwide to establish a pre-commercial array of wave energy converters. The full environmental impact assessment for the site, to be carried out in 2014 and 2015, is essential to advance the project and eventually connect power generated from the wave energy converters to the existing electricity network.
Commenting, Dr Motherway said: “Ocean energy is a great opportunity for Ireland, not only to exploit a tremendous source of clean energy but also to develop a sizeable enterprise sector. We already have world leading technology expertise and some excellent test facilities in Ireland. ESB Westwave will bring ocean energy in Ireland to another level by enabling us to bring renewable electricity ashore from the waves off County Clare.”
Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive, ESB said: “As an island nation, we have a natural advantage in the abundant sustainable wave energy resources off our west coast. The ESB Westwave project is a demonstration project and is a critical step on the journey towards commercialisation of wave power generation. Effective collaboration between industry and state agencies is critical to developing the sector and to ensuring ocean energy can play its part in meeting Ireland’s ambitious renewable targets. We very much welcome the on-going support and commitment from SEAI towards developing the ESB Westwave project.”
Dr Motherway concluded: “Renewable energy is vital for Ireland to secure our energy supply and in 2012 it reduced our CO2 emissions by over three million tonnes. One fifth of Ireland’s electricity now comes from renewable sources which is good news for Irish consumers and energy prices.”