Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Declan Meally and Patricia Comiskey Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland





In 2019 the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment launched the Climate Action Plan in response to the climate disruption which is already having diverse and wide ranging impacts on Ireland's environment, society, economic and natural resources.  The plan is not limited to offshore renewables, but the intention of the plan is to increase energy output of offshore renewables from 25 MW to 3.5 GW by 2030.   The actions relevant to offshore development in the Climate Action Plan are:

  • Action 25: Facilitate the development of Offshore Wind, including the connection of at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind, based on competitive auctions, to the grid by 2030. We will establish a top team to drive this ambition.
  • Action 26: Support the ocean energy research, development and demonstration pathway for emerging marine technologies (wave, tidal, floating wind) and associated test infrastructure.
  • Action 27: Support innovation enterprise hubs and the supply chain for offshore renewable energy.

Each action has specific and targeted sub-actions with responsibility and timelines identified; to ensure delivery.The plan is due for a detailed review in 2020 and will build on the actions of the Climate Action Plan. 

In 2014 the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) ( The OREDP highlights the potential opportunities for the country in relation to marine energy at low, medium and high levels of development, as derived from the findings of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Plan carried out prior to publication. The OREDP, as a policy document, sets out the key principles, specific actions and enablers needed to deliver upon Ireland’s significant potential in this area. Accordingly, the OREDP is seen as providing a framework for the development of this sector. The over-arching vision of the Plan is “Our offshore renewable energy resource contributing to our economic development and sustainable growth, generating jobs for our citizens, supported by coherent policy, planning and regulation, and managed in an integrated manner” (DCENR, 2014). The Plan is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the opportunities, policy context and next steps, including 10 key enabling actions for the development of the sector. The second part focuses on the Strategic Environmental and Appropriate Assessment of the Plan.
The implementation of the OREDP is being led by the Department of Communication Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) who have put in place the Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group (ORESG) in order to ensure successful implementation. The Steering Group consists of the main Government departments and agencies with roles and responsibilities that relate to energy and the marine environment, developers and broader interest and user groups when necessary. 
The work of the ORESG, and hence the implementation of the OREDP, is organised according to three work-streams: Environment, Infrastructure and Job Creation. The Job Creation working group has responsibility across several actions, including identifying additional exchequer support requirements, supply chain development and communicating the message that ‘Ireland is Open for Business’. Under the Environment work-stream the Group ensures the needs of the marine energy industry are reflected in the on-going reform of the foreshore and marine consenting process. The actions deriving from the SEA and AA of the OREDP are also taken forward under this work-stream to ensure that future marine energy development takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Infrastructure working group concentrates on supporting and delivering objectives of other policies such as the National Ports Policy and Grid 25 so as to expedite integrated infrastructure development which will facilitate the offshore renewable energy sector. 
This plan was reviewed in 2017 by relevant stakeholders at government and industry level to ascertain progress on actions; to ensure continued focus on appropriate priority areas and to realign the plan with any changes in political or technical landscapes. The review of the OREDP was subject to a full public consultation in November/December 2017.  The final report of the review was published in May 2018. The review contains 26 recommendation actions which can be reviewed in the link below. This review does not make any changes to the OREDP; rather the review aims to chart progress on the plan, identify challenges that have emerged and identify areas that need to be prioritised or require attention. OREDP Interim Review May 2018. The plan is due for a detailed review in 2020 and will build on the actions of the Climate Action Plan. 
In September 2017 the department of Communications Climate Action and Environment issued a the ‘Public Consultation on the Design of a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme in Ireland’. This public consultation focused on the design options of the proposed new RESS for Ireland. This was the second stage in this process to review and design Irelands Renewable Energy Support Scheme (the initial consultation had been issued in July 2015).
While the primary objective of the new RESS is to incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable generation to deliver national and EU wide renewable energy and decarbonisation targets, there are other energy policy objectives. The objectives include: the broadening and diversifying of the renewable technology mix, enhancing security of energy supply, promoting economic development, and supporting community and citizen participation in the transition to a low carbon economy. These objectives must be met, while simultaneously delivering value for money for the consumer. Providing pathways for increased community participation is also considered be a cornerstone of the new scheme, delivering on Energy White Paper commitments. 
The proposed new RESS has been designed with the primary policy objective of delivering sufficient renewable electricity to meet Ireland’s contribution to the EU wide renewable energy targets, out to 2030. The proposed design also meets Ireland’s three energy pillars of Competitiveness, Security of Supply and Sustainability, while simultaneously addressing other stated government ambitions. The Floating Feed In Premium (FIP) performed best against the assessment criteria and was selected as the primary financial support mechanism for the new RESS. This support will be allocated through auctions, with potential exceptions for small-scale generation or emerging technologies. 
A separate Community Category in also included within the RESS to support community-led projects. Several proposals regarding the features of a community scheme within the new RESS consultation were suggested. These proposals included: projects supported under the RESS must offer the community an opportunity to invest, a floating feed-in-premium (FIP) should be made available for smaller community projects (<6MW wind, <1MW other technologies), and development grants should be made available to suitable community-led projects. The report also explored several means of enabling communities to make their investments, including tax incentives, green bonds, facilitating crowd funding and offering investment soft loans. No recommendation is made regarding supporting these options, but further analysis of these measures is proposed to understand their suitability. It is also proposed that pathways for micro-generation be developed outside of, but in conjunction with, the main RESS. 
The DCCAE are currently in the process of seeking state aid approval for the scheme. It is anticipated that the first auction call will open in 2019. 

SEAI Prototype Development Fund
SEAI’s Prototype Development Fund aims to accelerate and enhance support for the research, development, testing and deployment of wave and tidal energy devices. The emphasis is on industry-led projects, and covers a broad scope, including the following indicative types of activities: 
  • Projects to develop and test wave and tidal energy capture devices, systems and sites.
  • Independent monitoring of projects/technologies. 
  • Industry-led R&D aimed at the integration of ocean energy into the electricity market and the national electricity grid (and network). 
  • Data monitoring, forecasting, communications and control of ocean energy systems. 
The programme launched in 2009 and to date has supported over 110 projects with +€17m grant funding. Many projects supported through the programme have utilised Ireland’s suite of test facilities, particularly development of small-scale physical models in the wave basins at the National Ocean Test Facility at University College Cork and sea trials in Galway Bay.The scheme closed in January 2019 for review, however opportunities for funding was maintained for the wave, tidal and floating wind sector through the SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration fund. The scheme closed in January 2019 for review, however opportunities for funding was maintained for the wave, tidal and floating wind sector through the SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration fund.
Pre-Commercial Technology Fund
To meet the changing requirements of the ocean energy sector, and particularly ocean energy technology developers, SEAI is investigating funding mechanisms to help accelerate the commercialisation of wave and tidal energy devices and components. In 2016 the Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) published its report ‘Funding the Development of the Ocean Energy Industry in Ireland’, with the support of SEAI. This report recommends the establishment of a ‘Pre-Commercial Technology Fund (PCTF) to close the ‘funding gap’ for device and sub-system developers at TRL3+ and to complement the current Prototype Development Fund’. 
SEAI commissioned Black & Veatch and Carbon Trust to carry out two studies to explore options for expanding SEAIs schemes as per MRIA proposals. These studies considered the Development of Funding and Governance Options for Irish Ocean Energy Programme and Ocean Energy Technology challenges. Following the completion of the studies, SEAI held a workshop with industry to present the findings of them and to gain feedback from industry on a possible pilot programme. SEAI are continuing to explore ways of establishing a pre-commercial fund, including the option to collaborate on a H2020 project which will leverage EU funds for such a programme.  
In 2019, SEAI were part of a European consortium to explore options to set up a European Pre-commercial programme, equivalent to the national programme that Wave Energy Scotland (WES) manage in the UK. Although the bid for EU funding was successful, SEAI did not manage to secure national funding for the project and as a result have stepped back from the project. 
The ERA-NET scheme was an innovative component of the European Union’s Framework Programme, which supported co-operation of national/regional research funding programmes to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). OCEANERA‐NET (, aimed to coordinate and support research, innovation and knowledge exchange in the Ocean Energy sector amongst European countries and regions, by launching transnational competitive joint calls for funding collaborative RTDI projects. SEAI participated in the OCEANERA-NET project, along with 16 funding Agencies from 9 European countries. 
The OCEANERA-NET programme, which ran from December 2013, closed in February 2018, following two successful joint calls for collaborative research and innovation projects. Six projects with nine Irish partners were approved in the two OCEANERA-NET joint calls. There are currently two active OCEANERA-NET projects with Irish partners.Six projects with nine Irish partners were approved in the two OCEANERA-NET joint calls over the course of the programme.  The last of these projects were successfully completed in 2019.
Ocean Energy ERA-NET Cofund 
The Ocean Energy ERA-NET Cofund (OCEANERA-NET COFUND) project is a five-year action that secured support through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation in 2016. This new programme will build on the work of OCEANERA-NET and with an increased budget and financial support from the EU Commission, the COFUND programme focuses on collaborative projects that demonstrate and validate innovative technologies for ocean energy. A second call was issued in 2019. Contracts for projects are currently being negotiated. 
Aimsto support transnational, collaborative research and development projects in ocean energy through joint calls and carry out other joint activities which will enhance the coordination of public research and innovation programmes and improve the exploitation of results of the projects funded. The first joint call was launched in 2017 and was open to applicants from three European countries (Ireland, Spain, Sweden) and four regions (Brittany, Pays de la Loire, the Basque Country, and Scotland). Three projects, with four Irish partners, were awarded grants in the COFUND joint call.