Wave Energy Coming to Ireland

Wave Energy Coming to Ireland

The fact that Ireland is one of the countries that has the best waves is not a secret, but how to make use of those waves in terms of making energy? TheJournal.ie reports that this has been a crucial question for many years now and Ireland has invested a vast amount of money and time into research and development of energy making technologies.

Some success has been noted in the development, however the problem lies in making the machines capable of surviving in extreme ocean conditions.

Kieran O’Brien, the European Business Development Manager for Carnegie Wave, one of the leaders in the field said: “You have to generate power in an unfriendly environment – one from which most people stay away.”

He also added: “It is perfectly possible to design the necessary equipment. But it has to be able to withstand force 9 gales. We need something in the water that will extract that energy but will still be there when those storms hit.”

It is estimated that an average one meter wave would be able to generate 40 kilowatts of energy, which would be increased 100 times during a storm.

The major issue now is how to collect contributions to continue development. O’Brien stated: “We have to get the money and it’s realistically up to hundreds of millions of euro.”

Recently Carnegie received funding from the Australian government to put a demonstrator in place off the coast of Perth, which would certainly prove the firm’s technology and help make it more competitive.

“We are lucky that the majority of device developers are in Ireland and that we have several hundred researchers working on this in our universities,” said Peter Coyle of the Marine Renewables Industry Association, adding that in about five years Ireland should be receiving contributions for the project.

Andrew Parish of Wavebob said that “truthfully, the commercial future of wave energy lies overseas”, thus Irish company Wavebob will be deploying wave generators over the next few years, but none of those will be used in Ireland.

Parish says: “Although Ireland has missed an opportunity for short term job creation, the money has been given to research – and that is never a waste. It contributes to valuable intellectual property.”

Coyle added: “At the moment, Ireland has one of the most insecure energy supplies in the world. A blend of the energies is the solution.”


Offshore WIND staff, May 07, 2012; Image: Wavebob