Irish wave energy firm announces US Navy partnership

Ocean Energy will test its 'OE Buoy' in Hawaii

Irish wave energy firm announces US Navy partnership

Image: Ocean Energy Group

An Irish wave energy technology company has announced that its wave energy convertor will be built in the United States and deployed at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site.

Ocean Energy says its 'OE Buoy' will be built by Oregon-based marine-fabrication company Vigor, and deployed at a test site on the Hawaiian Island of O'ahu in the autumn.

The contract is worth €5.25m out of a total project value of almost €10m, for what is being billed as a first-of-a-kind grid-scale project at the Hawaiian test site.

Commenting on the development, Tánaiste Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: "Building on the Irish-US government MoU for collaboration on marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies’ research, Ocean Energy and its partners are demonstrating how transatlantic cooperation can yield immensely productive results.

"Irish innovation coupled with US engineering is providing the US Navy Wave Energy Test Site with sustainable and logistical gains and a template for future large-scale projects.”

Ocean Energy chief executive officer John McCarthy said: "With rigorous testing and scaling of OE Buoy over the past ten years, today’s announcement of the device being built in Oregon represents a truly major milestone for Ocean Energy.

"It's the combination of Irish innovation and American manufacturing expertise and that's always going to produce a world-class result."

The project is part-funded by the US Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The 750-tonne 'OE Buoy' measures 38 x 18 metres with a draught of nine metres and has a potential rated capacity of up to 1.25 MW in electrical power production.

In Ireland, each deployed commercial device could reduce CO2 emissions by over 4,370 tonnes annually.

The company says a utility-scale wave farm of 100 MW could amount to over 218,000 tonnes of CO2 in a full year.