Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (394, 395)

Arthur Spring

Question:

408 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when the final offshore renewable energy development plan will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34526/12]

View answer

Arthur Spring

Question:

409 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the EU funding support that is available and has been used to support the development of grid-connected wave testing here; the results of the wave testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34528/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 408 and 409 together.

Wave energy technology is still at the research, development and demonstration stage globally. Whilst EU funding has not been directly provided to support wave testing through my Department or the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), I understand that there are a number of Irish partners, including the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) based at University College Cork, who have participated in EU wave energy projects.

Additionally, the Ocean Energy Development Unit (OEDU) in SEAI is working to take forward Ireland's ocean energy programme, in line with the Government's commitment to realise the long term economic potential of Ireland's wave and tidal energy resources.

The Ocean Energy Development Programme has been allocated €2.9 million in 2012 of which €1.6 million capital is allocated to the Ocean Energy Prototype Development Fund. This supports the Galway Bay test site, the preliminary development work on the Mayo test site at Belmullet and industry technical support services and participation in EU and International Energy Agency activities in the ocean energy sphere.

To date funding has been provided for 32 projects with some of the funding multi-annual in nature. There are 11 projects with funding commitments of €1.3million in 2012, subject to the individual projects reaching the required project development milestones. My Department is also finalising an offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan underpinned by a Strategic Environmental Assessment of Irish waters, which is due to be completed shortly.