Ireland was well represented at last week’s 6th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE), which took place in Edinburgh from 23rd-25th February. There were over 20 Irish companies and 30 delegates represented on the ‘Ireland Open for Business’ stand. The event, which brings together interested parties from the global ocean energy industry every two years, attracted over 900 delegates, 70 exhibitors, 100 international speakers, and a variety of investors, developers, and government agents from all over the world.
The Sustainable Energy Authority paired up with Enterprise Ireland and MRIA to fund delegates to attend the event and showcase Ireland’s offerings to the emerging ocean energy sector. Representatives from Lir National Ocean Test Facility, MaREI, Smartbay and the Marine Institute stood alongside SEAI at the “Ireland Open for Business” stand to promote Ireland’s unrivalled natural resources and testing infrastructure to a dynamic international market.
Several Irish companies were supported by Enterprise Ireland to attend including, Exceedence, Techworks, Ocean Energy, Technology from Ideas and Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions; ensuring an opportunity for investors to network with local businesses in conjunction with technical development experts.
Declan Meally, Head of Emerging Sectors, SEAI, said: "The objective at this major international event is to show that Ireland is open for business and is actively committed to harnessing its abundant wave, tidal and offshore wind energy resources in an environmentally sustainable manner. The government through its departments and agencies (led by DCENR) is dedicated to developing an indigenous ocean energy industry, which is a real opportunity that will deliver future economic and societal benefits for the citizens of Ireland. To that end, collaboration, both nationally and internationally, is key. To facilitate the development of the sector we're very keen to explore all collaborative opportunities, where Ireland can offer its strengths in areas like test facilities, technology supports, supply chain availability and grid infrastructure."
Meally added,” With a sea area ten times our land mass, this market has the potential to be worth €15 billion to Ireland's economy by 2050. Irish companies are making innovative technology developments and SEAI since 2009 has made grant offers of almost €12m to 68 technology projects.”
Irish companies were also well represented in successful projects announced at the event. For instance the FloTEC project has been awarded €10 million by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project will bring together 10 industry and research organisations to provide low-cost, high-value tidal energy to the European grid mix, 5 of which are Irish partners, including DP Energy, UCC and EireComposites are involved in this project.
SEAI also announced at the event that the Ocean Development Prototype Fund is contributing €4.3million to 15 new marine energy projects in 2016. These successful projects and companies and the support provided by the relevant agencies are certainly placing Ireland as a forerunner in the international ocean energy market.