Written answers

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Alternative Energy Projects

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, United Left)
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191. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 10 and 13 of 23 October 2014 which indicate that of the indigenous wave energy developers, three are attempting to develop point absorber wave energy converter devices, three are working on attenuator devices, two on overtopping devices, four on oscillating water column devices and two on power take off, if a more rational use of the states resources with a view to developing an Irish wave energy industry providing jobs for Irish workers, would be to purchase the useful intellectual property inherent in the various technologies, employ whatever proven expertise exists in these companies and direct the ESB to lead a development programme targeting the deployment of Irish wave energy conversion megawatt size devices offshore Ireland within ten years. [46598/14]

Photo of Alex WhiteAlex White (Dublin South, Labour)
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As the Deputy is aware, wave and tidal energy is still at the research, development and demonstration stage globally. While promising experimental devices have been developed, much research, development and demonstration is required to bring wave energy technology to commercial viability. As I outlined in response to the Parliamentary Questions on this matter on 23 October, policy action across a range of areas is required to support developers in bringing ocean energy devices from prototype to full scale commerciality. This action is now being taken in the context of the implementation of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan which was published earlier this year.

The Ocean Energy Development Unit of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) was specifically established to take forward the development of this important sector. A key part of its activity is the administration of the Prototype Development Fund, which provides grant aid for the development of prototype ocean energy devices. In line with the approach taken internationally, the emphasis is on industry led projects as the best way of supporting innovation.

ESB is developing the Westwave project to develop the first wave energy array in Ireland by 2018. Through Westwave the ESB is procuring a number of wave energy device designs which offer different solutions to the challenge of harnessing wave energy. In deploying these devices at the Westwave test site off Co. Clare, the project aims to make a significant contribution to the international development of wave energy technology.


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