The Irish government has confirmed that permission has been granted to use a site in Galway Bay to test marine renewable energy, including floating offshore wind. Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Damien English said Ireland’s Marine Institute has been awarded a foreshore lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.
The test site, located 1.5 km off the coast of An Spidéal, 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. The Marine Institute had operated a test site at the same location for 11 years until March 2017, generating a significant research knowledge base. The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with an area in which to test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies.
A maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices will 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. Under the terms of the lease, the Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring programme available to the public.
Published on Thursday 21st Dec 2017 by David Foxwell