‘Father of ocean energy’ gets tribute from France

Tony Lewis (Photo: UCC)

Tony Lewis, a Principal Investigator in MaREI and Professor Emeritus at the University College Cork (UCC), has been awarded the national order of France for distinguished academics Chevalier des Palmes Académiques.

Lewis, who has dedicated his entire career to marine renewable energy and spearheaded the development of the MaREI Centre, was presented with the award by the French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Jean-Pierre Thébault, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the offshore renewable energy sector across Europe.

The award was bestowed last week, during the launch of the MaRINET2 program, an EU-funded initiative set up to to accelerate the development of tidal, wave, and offshore wind energy technologies by providing developers with fully-funded access to testing infrastructures.

Lewis led the first MaRINET programme, which helped industry speed up the development of offshore renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

Originally a decoration founded by Emperor Napoléon to honour eminent members of the University of Paris, the Chevalier des Palmes Académiques is a national order of France for distinguished academics and figures in culture and education.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lewis said: “I am hugely honored to accept the award of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques from Msr. Jean-Pierre Thébault, the French Ambassador to Ireland. I have a longstanding positive relationship, with many French Universities through exchange of students as well as joint European funded research projects such as MaRINET2.”

Fundamental to the development of the Lir National Ocean Test Facility, Lewis, dubbed ‘the father of ocean energy, has been one of the most active members of the ocean energy community for the past four decades, according to UCC

During the first four-and-a-half year long MaRINET project, which ended last year, over 700 weeks of access was made available to 178 projects and 800 companies.

MaRINET2, coordinated by the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI), will run for 4.5 years with a consortium of 39 partners in 13 countries along with 57 associated infrastructure.

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