Written Answers - Alternative Energy Projects

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 759 No. 1

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  332.  Deputy David Stanton  Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton   asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,  Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   further to Parliamentary Question No. 156 of 23 February 2012, the amount of State funding available for research and development of ocean energy technology and projects; if he will provide details of the specific supports available to companies engaging in such activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13943/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Ocean Energy Development Unit (OEDU) in the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (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. In that context SEAI is working closely with the Marine Institute and my Department as well as the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

SEAI’s Prototype Development Fund supports the development of wave and tidal device prototypes and associated supporting technologies. A total of 32 projects have been funded to date. Of these 21 projects have been completed and 11 are in the process of completion. New guidelines for the Prototype Development Fund are currently being developed by the SEAI.

Work is also continuing on the pre-planning stages for the potential development of a grid connected pre-commercial full scale prototype test site. An application for an exploration foreshore lease was submitted in December 2011 and environmental monitoring on the proposed site is being carried out. An electricity grid connection offer in respect of the site has been received. The funding options for future development of the test site will be the subject of detailed assessment in the context of the 2013 Budget and subsequent years.

The IDA and Enterprise Ireland are also involved in developing and assisting the ocean energy sector as part of their clean technology development drive, working with SEAI, my Department and the sector itself.

My Department is finalising an offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan underpinned by a Strategic Environmental Assessment of Irish waters, which is due to be completed shortly.

€2.9m has been allocated to the SEAI Ocean Energy Development Programme for 2012, of which some €1.65m is being allocated to the Prototype Development Fund.

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