Ireland is actively committed to harnessing its abundant marine renewable energy resources and is dedicated to developing an indigenous ocean energy industry in the process. A key attribute in the ongoing effort to achieve this goal is the continued improvement and expansion of several outstanding test and demonstration facilities covering all stages of technology development. These facilities include the Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site located within the confines of Galway Bay. This article provides an update on the current activities taking place at the test site.
In July 2018, four new cardinal marks were deployed at the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site. These marks delineate the test site for mariners, marking out the full area of the site which will be used for testing a variety of marine devices and equipment. Within the 550m x 670m test site there are three berths for scaled ocean energy devices, as well as an area set aside for the underwater observatory.
In July, coinciding with the test site recommissioning, a newly refitted, overhauled and cleaned subsea observatory was redeployed at the tests site. The SmartBay instrumented buoy and the Waverider buoy were also deployed which form part of a suite of the permanent equipment available for use by technology developers who are accessing the site.
Since the recommissioning of the subsea observatory, a FORESEA funded project enabled a company called Blue Ocean Monitoring to deploy their acoustic glider on the test site. The glider was deployed and piloted at the test site where it collected acoustic data 24 hours a day over a period of 7 days. The project has facilitated an acoustic landscaping of the area and a comparison between the glider hydrophone data against the fixed PAM system on the subsea observatory. This data will enable a better understanding of what can be achieved using an acoustic glider platform when compared to a fixed hydrophone. The information collected will also be used to validate an acoustic model of the test site. This will provide valuable information to the test site operations team and to wave energy developers at the site, providing a better understanding of sound propagation from wave energy converters and useful data for environmental monitoring.
A Spanish company Zunibal, funded by an EU project Jerico-Next, have also deployed their wave monitoring equipment at the test site. Zunibal are testing a directional wave buoy called Anteia. This project will validate the technology against the permanently deployed Waverider buoy at the test site. A graph is included in the figure below which compares the Waverider and Anteia data, for Significant Wave Height (Hm0) and Maximum Wave Height (Hmax), in the period between the 10th to the 20th of September 2018. Also, captured during this period were the effects of Storm Ali on the wave conditions at the SmartBay test site.
The Research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 Framework Programme (H2020-INFRAIA-2014-2015) under grant agreement no 654410, JERICO-NEXT.
Read more about the current projects deployed onsite in the SmartBay Newsletter available here.