Minister Rabbitte welcomes Ocean Energy MoU with US Department of Energy

Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte, welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding on offshore renewable energy research cooperation with the
United States Department of Energy.
Dublin, 29th March 2012
The memorandum was signed on his behalf in Washington last week during the
Taoiseach’s visit to the US. Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine
Institute signed on behalf of Ireland and Dr Henry Kelly, Assistant
Secretary in the Department of Energy signed on behalf of the US.

Ireland has a sea area that is around 10 times the size of its land area.
Ireland’s location at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean ensures one of the
best wind and wave resources in Europe. There is very significant potential
in utilising these resources in the medium to long term to generate carbon
free renewable electricity.

According to Minister Rabbitte, “Wave energy technology is still very much
at the research, development and deployment stages and the Memorandum
signed will result in increased co-operation between Ireland and the US.
Both countries have an interest in encouraging and improving technology
development in this sector and the Memorandum builds on an excellent
working relationship fostered by previous joint marine renewable events
held in Galway, Washington and Farmleigh over the past few years.”

Collaboration under this Memorandum will involve research co-operation in
the field of wave and tidal energy, involving marine and hydrokinetic
energy technologies. The Minister observed, “The co-operation is planned
to be strategic, concentrating mainly on technologies which are not yet
commercially viable but which might offer significant renewable energy
potential. Mutual co-operation will lead to increased investment
opportunities in the Sector, initially as projects develop through the
research and demonstration phases and also through increased academic
cooperation. “

While the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland have a dedicated Ocean
Energy Research Unit, other bodies that might take part in such research
cooperation from the Irish perspective include the Marine Institute, the
Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre, University College Cork, and other
appropriate entities.

Possible participants from the US side are National Energy Laboratories and
National Marine Renewable Energy Centers such as the National Renewable
Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the Northwest National
Marine Renewable Energy Center, the National Marine Renewable Energy Center
of Hawaii, and the Foundation for Ocean Renewables.

The IDA and Enterprise Ireland are also closely involved in developing and
assisting the Ocean Energy Sector. They both acknowledge research and
development opportunities in the sector – even at the early stages of
development that the sector is currently in – and recognise the long term
potential of Ireland becoming a development and deployment centre for the
industry.

The areas of co-operation under the MoU are

A. Marine and Hydrokinetic Resource Assessment Methodology

B. Exchange of Personnel for Short-term Visits and Assignments

C. Test Planning and Evaluation of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy
Technology Demonstration Projects

D. Exchange of Engineering and Environmental Test Data on Marine and
Hydrokinetic Energy Technologies

E. Exchange of Information on Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Device
Modeling

F. Wider dissemination of technical information across the sector

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