Communications Energy and Natural Resources, Dáil Issues, Oral Questions

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied to leave the development of the best wave energy resource in Europe to the private sector or if will he require the ESB to direct resources to developing the wave energy resource to provide renewable energy and jobs for Irish workers. – Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 23rd October, 2014.

(4 Received on 15th October, 2014.)

REPLY

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White)
The development of Ireland’s abundant offshore renewable energy resource will be an increasingly important element of Ireland’s future energy policy. The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan sets out a vision of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resource contributing to economic development and sustainable growth, and generating jobs for our citizens. The Plan highlights the importance of coherent policy, planning and regulation, managed in an integrated and collaborative manner.

To coordinate support across Government, the Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group has been established with relevant Government departments and agencies overseeing the implementation of the plan, focussing on three main areas namely the Environment, Infrastructure and Job Creation. In addition, the Steering Group will hold plenary sessions with external stakeholders annually.

The ocean energy sector is at the pre-commercial stage. A range of policies is required to support developers in bringing their devices from prototype to full scale commercial viability. Exchequer support for ocean research, development and demonstration has been provided to the sector in recent years and is being increased under the OREDP. My Department’s multi-annual ocean energy development budget was increased by €16.8 million, covering the period 2013 to 2016, and brought the total cumulative funding to €26.3 million. This funding will support the development of the test sites in counties Mayo, Galway and Cork, the Integrated Maritime Energy Resource Cluster at Ringaskiddy, and the Prototype Development Fund operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. O ptions for an additional €30 million capital funding in the years 2016 to 2018 are being discussed cross-departmentally. T his funding is expected to facilitate innovative projects, like the ESB led Westwave project, that can meet certain compliance criteria.

Finally, I should highlight that the OREDP further proposes, subject to State Aid clearance from the European Commission and further Government approval, an initial market support scheme for wave and tidal energy from 2016, limited to 30MW, to unlock the economic growth and job creation opportunities offered by ocean energy development.

[Ref No.: 40170/14]

To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the amount of grant aid paid by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to Irish wave energy companies by company; the type of wave energy converter proposed in each case; and the technical readiness level of each company before and after the grant aid. – Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 23rd October, 2014.

(3 Received on 15th October, 2014.)

REPLY

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Alex White)
Wave and tidal energy technology is still at the Research, Development and Demonstration stage globally. Ireland has a rich ocean resource and has significant potential in this area. Consequently, in order to take forward the Government’s ocean energy strategy, an Ocean Energy Development Unit was established in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2009.
The Ocean Energy Development Unit has been facilitating the development of the sector through administration of a Prototype Development Fund of grants for industry. SEAI has to date invested or provided grant aid totalling just over €2.6m to ocean wave energy companies from the Fund. Grant commitments have been made to 15 separate companies ranging from just over €13,000 to over €830,000 and I propose to circulate with the Official Record a table detailing the commitments made from the Fund.
Table: Grant Commitments from Prototype Development Fund

Company Paid from 2009 – 2014 Type Technology Readiness Level (TRL) ChangePre- Grant to Post -Grant
Wavebob Ltd €836,877 Point Absorber 1->5
Ocean Energy €575,198 Oscillating Water Column 1->6
Sea Power Ltd €363,646 Attenuator 1->4
Jospa Ltd €177,539 Attenuator 1->2
Cyan Technologies Ltd €132,594 Overtopping 1->2
Blue Power Energy €109,280 Point Absorber 1->3
Wave Energy Ireland Ltd €90,120 Oscillating Water Column 1->2
Sea Energies €82,250 Oscillating Water Column 0->2
CETO Wave Energy Ireland Ltd €69,718 Point Absorber 4->5
Benson Engineering Ltd €51,257 Point Absorber 1->2
Limerick Wave Ltd €13,410 PTO Developer 1->4
JJ Campbell €40,040 Oscillating Water Column 1->2
Waveberg Ireland €26,412 Attenuator 1->2
Key Engineering Services €25,310 Floating Overtopping 0->1
Martin Houston & Sons Ltd €13,410 PTO Developer 0->1

Technology Readiness Level Scale

Applied and strategic research

1. Basic principles observed and reported

2. Technology concept and/or application formulated

3. Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept

4. Component and/or partial system validation in a laboratory environment

Technology validation

5. Component and/or partial system validation in a relevant environment

6. System/subsystem model validation in a relevant environment

System validation

7. System prototype demonstration in an operational environment

8. Actual system completed and service qualified through test and demonstration

9. Actual system proven through successful mission operation