Annual Report 2016
Country Reports


Declan Meally Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland



The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP)
The Irish Government’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) in February 2014 (

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 will be led by the DCENR and the Offshore Renewable Energy Steering Group (ORESG) is actively overseeing its 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 Group reports directly to the Minister and the Plan will be reviewed in 2017.

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 will also be 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.

Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015 - 2030
The White Paper ‘Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future 2015-2030’, published by DCENR in 2015, is a complete update on Ireland’s wider energy policy. This paper sets out a framework to guide policy and the actions that Government intends to take in the energy sector from now up to 2030, while taking European and International climate change objectives and agreements, as well as Irish social, economic and employment priorities, into account.

The White Paper anticipates that ocean energy will play a part in Ireland’s energy transition in the medium to long term and reiterates the OREDP’s status as the guiding framework for developing the sector.

Currently, proposed ocean energy developments require a Foreshore Licence (for non-exclusive and temporary uses) and/or a Foreshore Lease (exclusive and permanent uses) granted by the Minister of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government. Deployment of an ocean energy device may require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) depending on its nature, size and location, in accordance with European Union (EU) law and national legislation. Similarly, where a development is located in or near a site designated for nature conservation purposes, under the EU Habitats Directive, an Appropriate Assessment (AA) may also be required. If a development comprises onshore works (terrestrial) planning permission from the adjoining planning authority (County Council) will be required. A new Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill is expected to be enacted in 2017 will align the foreshore consent system with the planning system in order to streamline the EIA and AA processes for projects.

2016 saw two draft environmental guidance documents for the offshore renewable energy industry released for public consultation. These documents, one on the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Natura Impact Statements (NIS) for offshore renewable energy projects and the other on Marine Baseline Assessments and Monitoring Activities, aim to ensure there is clear guidance for developers on environmental statements, data and monitoring necessary for deploying in Ireland’s oceans, ensuring best practice is adopted in order to develop the industry in an environmentally friendly manner.

Under the Job Creation work-stream of the OREDP, one of the key actions is the introduction of Initial Market Support Tariff for Ocean Energy. It is envisaged that this will be equivalent to €260/MWh and limited to 30 MW for ocean (wave and tidal), focusing on pre-commercial trials and demonstration. In July 2015 DCENR published an initial Renewable Energy Support Scheme Consultation, and are currently preparing for the next stage in the consultation process. The objective of this process is, where a clear need is demonstrated, to develop a new support scheme for renewable electricity to be available in Ireland from 2017 onwards, to support the delivery of Government policy, while taking account of the broader emerging policy context, such as the Energy Policy White Paper, the transition to the target market, the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and State Aid guidelines, the Energy Union package and the European Energy Security Strategy. The development of the wave and tidal market support tariff is included as part of this process.


SEAI Prototype Development Fund
The OREDP reiterates the focus on stimulating industry-led projects for the development and deployment of ocean energy devices and systems through the support of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s Prototype Development Fund. The objectives of this programme are to accelerate and enhance support for the research, development, testing and deployment of wave and tidal energy devices.

Seventeen new projects were awarded grants in 2016, bringing the total number of projects to eighty-five since 2009. Such projects included physical tank testing of early stage wave energy convertor concepts, floating offshore wind platforms, and specialist software development.

The ERA-NET scheme is an innovative component of the European Union’s Framework Programme, which supports co-operation of national/regional research funding programmes to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). OCEANERA‐NET (, aims 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 is a participant in the OCEANERA-NET, along with 16 funding Agencies from 9 European countries. The first OCEANERA_NET joint call commenced in late 2014, and a number of Irish partners were involved in successful project proposals. A second Joint Call was launched in February 2016.

Ocean Energy ERA-NET Co-fund
The Ocean Energy ERA-NET Co-fund (OCEANERA-NET COFUND) 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. OCEANERA-NET COFUND aims to 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 will be launched in 2017 and will be open to applicants from three European countries (Ireland, Spain, Sweden) and four regions (Brittany, Pays de la Loire, the Basque Country, and Scotland).