Energia rides new wave of renewable energy

May 10

Energia strongly supports Ireland's renewable energy development objectives

Ireland’s leading independent energy firm Energia is set to add wave power to its 220 MW renewable energy portfolio in an initiative that strongly supports Ireland’s renewable energy development objectives.  The company has signed a preliminary off-take agreement (for the purchase of electricity generated) with the pioneering US firm Ocean Energy Systems (OES) whose Wave Energy Converter (WEC) uses wave energy to produce electricity.

The deal was announced at the Marine Energy and Smart Grid Workshop which is taking place on Monday and Tuesday 10th and 11th May in Farmleigh House, Dublin and Parliament Buildings, Belfast, The event has been organised by the US Embassy, together with the with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland), the IDA and InvestNI. The event will focus on offshore marine electricity generating technologies and smart grid management tools.

The off-take agreement has a potential value of €1m annually for each WEC unit being constructed for a 20 year operating life.   The electricity will initially be generated from a development test site off Belmullet, Co. Mayo, where the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and OES are jointly developing a Wave Energy Converter prototype. The prototype will be capable of generating 12 Megawatt Hours of electricity each day.

The new technology in the Wave Energy Converter transforms the ocean’s wave motion into electricity using the McCabe Wave Pump articulated-barge coupled with a novel power take-off system.  Powered by a swell of 2.5 metre high waves for 8.5 secs, the WEC is capable of supplying 500 kilowatts of electricity to the grid – enough to displace 380kg of CO2 from conventional generation.  The power take-off technology is being developed in the United States by Dr. Michael McCormick, a professor who specialised in ocean wave energy at the US Naval Academy.

Tom Gillen, Chief Operating Officer, Energia, commented, “This exciting new deal with Ocean Energy Systems is a natural step for Energia given our longstanding commitment to renewables. There is a massive role for new energy technologies such as this in meeting Ireland’s future energy needs.”

He continued, “Energia already supplies many of Ireland’s leading public and private sector organisations with green power including Marks & Spencer, Bewley’s, Waterford City Council and Cork City Council.  We look forward to growing our existing green energy client base through the use of new renewable sources such as the Wave Energy Convertor alongside our already considerable bank of wind farms.”

Brian Cunningham, Chief Executive, Ocean Energy Systems commented, “The oceans of the world contain as much as 10 trillion watts of renewable energy, and Ireland’s west coast is recognized as one of the richest wave environments in the world.”

“Energia is making a smart commitment to harness the huge potential that remains largely untapped in the oceans, and we look forward to working with them to help Ireland use the natural resources to meet its energy needs sustainably.”

Today’s announcement co-incided with a Marine Energy and Smart Grid Technology Workshop arranged by the US Embassy in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.  The Workshop brought together senior government officials, business leaders, trade associations, the offshore renewable power and transmission sectors and research institutions from the USA, Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the objective of developing collaborative projects and exploring new business opportunities. The focus is on offshore marine electricity generating devices and the application of smart grid management tools that can assist in integrating intermittent power onto and throughout the system.

Through its renewable energy portfolio, Energia is eliminating over 350,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from the Irish atmosphere – the equivalent of removing the emissions of over 160,000, 1400 cc cars from our roads.   In this way, Energia’s operations make a very strong contribution to carbon reduction by its electricity customers.  These figures will increase significantly in the years ahead as further green projects come on stream.The company is a leading all-island player in the provision of renewable power. They have consistently been one of the largest investors in the renewable sector.  Following initial wind farm investments in 2003 in Derry,  Energia currently has over 220 MW of operational windfarms, and a further 400 MW in development.

Energia also sources conventional power from the Group’s power stations in north Dublin, where the company has invested €500 million in the capability to supply up to 17% of electricity requirements on an all-island basis.

Energia has a 25% market share of the business electricity market on an all–island basis with over 50,000 customers.  The company also supplies one third of all gas consumed in Ireland by the country’s largest industrial and commercial gas users.

Energia is Ireland’s leading competitive energy provider. The company has offices in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Belfast and Omagh.

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