An Irish company is set to undertake trials on a new wave-energy converter at the Marine Institute test site in Galway Bay.
Sea Power has been developing its device for the past eight years, and the converter is due to be transported from Foynes, Co Limerick, to Galway for sea trials shortly.
It is the third wave-power device to have been tested on the site, leased by the Marine Institute in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), off Spiddal, Co Galway.
Two previous devices were tested by WaveBob and by Ocean Energy Ltd over the past 10 years at the location, which is described as a quarter-scale test site for renewable energy.
Sea Power has received SEAI grant support for the device, which will be anchored for the next six months. The Marine Institute says the Sea Power converter will be placed on the test site under the existing foreshore license, which expires in March next year.
The institute has encountered local opposition over the handling of its application for a new 35-year lease to test a wider range of renewable energy devices. Community activists and residents have accused the State agency of “project splitting” , “lack of transparency” and a “failure to comply fully with EU directives”.
The Department of Housing and Local Government has received more than 540 submissions as a result of a public consultation which was extended several times. The department says these submissions are being collated and referred to the Marine Institute for further comment before a ministerial decision is taken.
The institute has already established a sub-sea observatory, called SmartBay, which has a separate permit and began a live feed of data back to shore in late June.
The Galway Bay project has been billed as an integral part of the State’s offshore renewable energy programme, which extends from ocean energy test tanks at University College Cork to a proposed full-scale test site in Belmullet, Co Mayo.
Irish company OpenHydro, based in Greenore, Co Louth, recently deployed two tidal turbines off northern France.