Ireland is “ideally positioned to become a global market leader in wave and tidal energy production,” according to the organiser of an international conference at UCC this week.

Affectionately known as the ‘father of ocean energy’, Professor Tony Lewis, Beaufort Emeritus Professor at UCC, is the organiser of the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC), which will run until September 1, looking at new ways to deliver and accelerate ocean energy.

He secured the event for Cork to showcase the exceptional infrastructure in Ireland for wave and renewable energy to delegates from across the globe.

“Ireland imports almost 90% of our power. We need to develop our energy so that we have security of supply, but also to exploit the incredible market opportunity presented by the five-gigawatt target. With our outstanding infrastructure, research capabilities and abundant supply of wild ocean around Ireland, we are ideally positioned to become a global market leader in wave and tidal energy, as well as a provider of ocean energy technology and solutions,” Professor Lewis said.

“Creating jobs, providing clean energy, protecting our environment and harnessing the blue economy are all reasons why ocean energy is important for Ireland and globally.”

European authorities have set a target that five gigawatts of energy must come from marine resources by 2050. Putting this in context, Ireland’s current entire energy requirement is approximately one gigawatt.

Supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the EWTEC 2017 Conference complements the activities of the SEAI which is helping to support Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

More than 400 wave and tidal energy experts, entrepreneurs and research leaders have gathered at UCC and the MaREI Centre in Ringaskiddy.

EWTEC gives industry players such as OpenHydro, Ocean Energy, SeaPower, in addition to SMEs including Blue Power Energy, Bensen Engineering, BluemarineGen, Limerick Wave, Tidal Flyer and Westwave the opportunity to network with leading researchers, academics, innovators and investors in the sector, he said. “It’s a hugely valuable event and we are delighted to host the event here in Cork at UCC.”

According to Declan Meally, Head of Emerging Sectors at the SEAI, the emerging ocean energy sector offers great opportunities in the move to clean energy and SEAI is driving its development in Ireland.

This includes funding the development of exciting new technologies to harness ocean energy and establishing our test facilities and supply chains to support the sector. In any new sector collaboration is key.

“Facilitating this, the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference is a great opportunity for SEAI to support the important exchange of ideas and evidence across countries, and drive innovation in this fast-moving sector.”

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Source: UCC