Ireland Approves Galway Bay Renewable Energy Test Site

The Irish government has granted an approval to Marine Institute to install a quarter scale renewable energy test site at Galway Bay.

The Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site is required to meet one of the Irish government’s stated objectives of producing 50GW from ocean energy by 2050 set out it the Ocean Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP).

The aim is to assist ORE energy developers to move from the drawing board to the quarter scale testing at the Galway Bay test site.

Damien English, Ireland’s minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, said: “This lease is not part of any future commercial offshore renewable energy generating facility. I have consented to this application on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid.”

The concerns raised by the public in their submissions under the public consultation process were fully considered throughout the detailed assessment of the application and supporting documentation by the Marine Licence Vetting Committee.

The minister added: “I took into account the concerns of the public when making my decision to consent to the lease application. The conditions of the lease reflect concerns from the public regarding communication and specify that the Marine Institute must provide a communications centre and community liaison officer to keep the public informed of activities at the site. I have also decided to restrict the number of floating wind energy devices to one at any one time and I am restricting the time period by which the specified devices must be tested to the first 10 years of the 35 year lease. This will help to assure the public that this site is purely for testing of devices and will not result in an offshore electricity generating station in Galway Bay.”

Restricting the testing period to the first 10 years means that applications to test a device after the first 10 year period has expired and applications to test devices not specified in the current application at any time, will require a separate foreshore licence application and will be subject to the full consultation process including a period of public consultation.