The Marine Institute has been awarded a lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site. The test site, located 1.5km off the coast of An Spidéal, in County Galway, will allow for the deployment and testing of a range of prototype marine renewable energy devices, innovative marine technologies and novel sensors.
The facility will also provide access to the SmartBay observatory allowing researchers and scientists to conduct research in the marine environment. SmartBay facilities include surface platforms and a sub-sea cabled observatory for the demonstration and validation of new technologies and solutions. Researchers can access SmartBay’s cyber environment to validate innovative solutions for marine and related sectors.
The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with an area in which to safely test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies. The Government recognizes the opportunity that ocean energy offers in the National Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan and has, in line with EU Directive, set a target of 16% of energy from renewable sources across the electricity, heat and transport sectors by 2020.
Dr. Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO, said, "With an exceptional marine resource, Ireland is in a unique position to capitalize on its natural advantages in the area of marine renewable energy. This will happen through the development, manufacture, deployment and operation of wave, tidal and offshore wind technologies and the creation of an indigenous supply chain in Ireland.”
Under the conditions of the lease, a maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices can be deployed at the test site at any time and will only be deployed for a maximum duration of 18 months, with the exception of any floating wind device which may only be deployed for a maximum of 12 months. The lease has been granted on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid. The Galway Bay test site will operate for up to 35 years, with devices on site intermittently throughout the year.
The Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring program available to the public.
Photo courtesy Marine Institute
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