Annual Report 2014
Country Reports


Prof. Tony Lewis Marine Renewable Energy Ireland Centre (MaREI) and the staff in the Ocean Energy Development Unit at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Significant steps were taken by Ireland in support of the Ocean Energy Sector in 2014. Of particular note the following was achieved:

  • The Irish Government launched the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP). This plan secures a budget for the sector until end 2016 and makes provisions for development until 2018.
  • Significant work was undertaken to update Ocean Energy research facilities in Cork.
  • Support structures in the form of an online information portal and grant levels were improved.
  • Finally updates to test site infrastructure was significantly funded and the outcome of this investment will be delivered in 2015.




The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP)
The Irish Government’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) in February 2014 (

The OREDP sets out key principles, specific actions and enablers needed to deliver Ireland’s significant potential in the ocean energy sector. The OREDP highlights the potential opportunities for Ireland in relation to marine energy at low, medium and high levels of development. Accordingly the OREDP is seen as providing a framework for the development of this sector. The over-arching vision of the Plan is Ireland’s “offshore renewable energy resource contributing to economic development and sustainable growth, generating jobs for citizens, supported by coherent policy, planning and regulation, and managed in an integrated manner” (DCENR, 2014). A comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment was undertaken to inform the plan.

The Plan is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the opportunities, policy context and next steps, including ten key enabling actions for the development of the sector. The second part focuses on the Strategic Environmental and Appropriate Assessment of the Plan and includes plan level mitigation measures as well as public consultation on the Plan itself.

The implementation of the OREDP is being led by the DCENR who has formed an Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group (ORESG) to oversee implementation. This consists of the main Government departments and agencies with roles and responsibilities that relate to energy and the marine environment, developers and broader interest and user groups when necessary. The Group reports directly to the Minister and the Plan will be reviewed before the end of 2017.

The work of the ORESG, and hence the implementation of the OREDP, is organised according to three workstreams: Environment, Infrastructure and Job Creation. The Job Creation working group has responsibility across several actions, including identifying additional exchequer support requirements, supply chain development and communicating the message that ‘Ireland is Open for Business’. Under the Environment work-stream the Group will ensure the needs of the marine energy industry are reflected in the on-going reform of the foreshore and marine consenting process. The actions deriving from the SEA and AA of the OREDP will also be taken forward under this work-stream to ensure that future marine energy development takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Infrastructure working group will concentrate on supporting and delivering objectives of other policies such as the National Ports Policy (DTTAS, 2013) and Grid 25 (EirGrid, 2010) so as to expedite integrated infrastructure development which will facilitate the offshore renewable energy sector.

Ocean Energy Portal
The Ocean energy Portal was launched at the International Conference for Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Halifax, November 2014. This Portal facilitates access to all information related to ocean energy activity in Ireland and is intended to become the “first stop shop” to which all developers can engage with relevant support sectors in Ireland and from where they can obtain the most relevant and up to date information. (


Under the Job Creation work-stream of the OREDP, one of the key actions is the introduction of Initial Market Support Tariff for Ocean Energy. This is currently under design by Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources and proposed for introduction in 2016. It will be equivalent to €260/MWh and strictly limited to 30MW for ocean (wave and tidal), focusing on pre-commercial trials and experiments.


SEAI Prototype Development Fund
The OREDP reiterates the focus on stimulating industry-led projects for the development and deployment of ocean energy devices and systems through the support of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Prototype Development Fund. The objectives of this programme are to accelerate and enhance support for the research, development, testing and deployment of wave and tidal energy devices through the following indicative types of activities:

SEAI supported eighteen projects through this programme in 2014, ranging from scaled testing of wave and tidal energy device concepts, research into innovative enabling components and the site development for ESB’s WestWave proposed 5MW array project near Killard, Co. Clare. The Prototype Development Fund has recently been re-launched, with a new provision for increased grant levels for projects displaying a high level of collaboration.

The ERA-NET scheme is an innovative component of the European Union’s Framework Programme, which supports co-operation of national/regional research funding programmes to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). The EU does not provide financial support for the research activities themselves, for which the ERA-NET members’ Funding Organisations are expected to use their own national/regional resources. OCEANERA‐NET (, aims to coordinate and support research, innovation and knowledge exchange in the Ocean Energy sector amongst European countries and regions, by launching transnational competitive joint calls for funding collaborative RTDI projects. SEAI is a participant in the OCEANERA-NET and joined 18 funding Agencies in 7 European countries in a joint call for collaborative research pre-proposals which closed in December 2014. A second joint call is due to be launched in Autumn 2015.


Galway Bay Quarter Scale Test Site
Ireland’s ¼ scale marine test site is located 1.5 km offshore in water depths ranging from 20m – 23m within Galway Bay. The license for the site has been held by the Marine Institute since 2006. The site has provided test and validation facilities for a number of devices to date. Extensive historical wave and weather data is available for the site. This data has been gathered and collated since 2008. Testing continued in Galway in 2014.

In 2015 work at the test site will be focussed on installation of a cable and floating power system. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Marine Institute, the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (UCC) and SmartBay Ireland will be working together on this project which is being funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The project consists of three components:

  1. A standard telecommunications cable from a shore station to the wave energy test site providing power and data connectivity
  2. Subsea test and monitoring devices
  3. Floating ‘Sea Station’ platform

The proposed new infrastructure will support wave energy converters by providing them with systems power and safely dissipating any wave energy they generate. Access to the test facility will be open to all wave energy developers wishing to test at ¼ scale (TRL 5-6) and will be coordinated by SmartBay Ireland Ltd. 

Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) 
The Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) is being developed by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to facilitate testing of full scale wave energy converters in an open ocean environment. AMETS will be located off Annagh Head, west of Belmullet in County Mayo and will be connected to the national grid. The test site is an integral component of Ireland’s Ocean Energy Strategy and is being developed in accordance with the national Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP). At the site there will be two test areas:

  • Test Area A will be at 100 m water depth and will be located some 16 km out from Belderra Strand; Test Area A will be 6.9 km2 (2.02 nautical square miles).
  • Test Area B will be at 50 m water depth and will be located 6 km from the strand. Test Area B will be 1.5 km2 (0.44 nautical square miles).

In 2015 SEAI will work with the industry to review requirements at the site and will commence onshore elements of the test site (e.g. substation and grid connection currently planned for completion in 2016).