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Ireland launches ocean energy development program

Ireland Energy Minister Eamon Ryan announced a 26 million euro (US$38 million) program January 15 for activity, grants, and support over three years to develop ocean energy in Ireland.

The minister also announced the first guaranteed price for wave energy and the establishment of a wave energy test site.

�Ireland now has the most sophisticated state support system for ocean energy in the world,� Ryan said. �The government is supporting start-up research through to the commercial production of electricity from the ocean. We then guarantee a price for this electricity that is one of the most competitive in the world.�

In 2008, the initiative is to include:
o 1 million euros (US$1.46 million) toward a world-class, state-of-the-art National Ocean Energy facility at University College Cork. It is to have an advanced wave basin for development and testing of early ocean energy devices;
o 2 million euros (US$2.92 million) to support development of a grid-connected wave energy test site at Annagh/French Point near Belmullet in County Mayo;
o 2 million euros (US$2.92 million) in grants under the Ocean Energy Prototype Fund to help developers make their devices commercial;
o Introduction of a new tariff under the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Scheme for wave energy of 220 euros (US$322) per megawatt-hour; and
o 500,000 euros (US$733,000) to establish an Ocean Energy Development Unit as part of Sustainable Energy Ireland. Operating with the support of the Marine Institute, the unit is to oversee implementation of the initiative.

On January 10, Ryan released a report on renewable energy in Ireland that found it is feasible to generate 42 percent of Ireland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from the current target of 33 percent. (HNN 7/4/06)

He said an additional investment of more than 650 million euros (US$952 million) would be necessary to reinforce more than 600 kilometers of Ireland's transmission network. Corresponding investment of 9 billion euros (US$13.1 billion) by private industry would be required, Ryan said.

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