The Irish Ministry for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources has unveiled the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) that outlines a strategy for the development of the country’s ocean energy resources.

The new plan increases the budget for ocean energy development for the period between 2013 and 2016 by €16.8m, bringing total cumulative funding to €26.3m.

As per the plan, the government will provide funds to help advance activities at ocean energy test sites on the west coast, research projects by Integrated Maritime Energy Resource Cluster and also the development of prototype wave energy-to-electricity conversion devices.

Identifying the potential marine renewable resources of around 70GW of energy in Irish waters, the plan also includes granting a feed in tariff of €260/MWh for wave and tidal energy from 2016 for the first 30MW of installed capacity.

The government, alongside existing structures such as the Marine Coordination Group, will establish an offshore renewable energy steering group (ORESG), which will oversee the implementation of OREDP through three work-streams: environment, infrastructure and job creation.

For the environment, ORESG will ensure energy input to the new planning and gain consent for architecture for the development in the marine area, led by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government.

"The group will work on job creation through coordination of existing RD&D support for ocean energy technologies."

The group will also take forward the findings and recommendations of the strategic assessments pursued for the plan to ensure environmental monitoring of offshore renewable energy development.

ORESG will oversee the infrastructure development, including grid and port, as offshore renewable energy sector development is dependent on such critical infrastructure.

The group will work on job creation through coordination of existing RD&D support for ocean energy technologies, developing a supply chain, exploring opportunities for international collaboration and working with state development agencies to attract investment.

It will also oversee introduction of an initial market support scheme for ocean energy and linking to on-going work to put in place an intergovernmental agreement for the export of renewable energy to the UK.

Carnegie executive director and CWE Ireland board member Kieran O’Brien said, "We welcome this commitment from the Minister for Energy and look forward working with the Irish Government and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to sustainably exploit Ireland’s incredible wave resource."