Ocean Energy’s pioneering ‘OE Buoy’ will be built in the United States by Oregon-based marine-fabrication company Vigor, and deployed at the US Navy’s wave energy test site on the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu in autumn 2018. The contract value of is €5.25m out of a total project value of almost €10m for testing.
The 750t OE Buoy measures 38m by 18m with a draught of 9m and has a potential rated capacity of up to 1.25MW in electrical power production. In Ireland, each deployed commercial device could reduce CO2 emissions by over 4,370t annually, which for a utility-scale wave farm of 100MW could amount to over 218,000t of CO2 in a full year. It is estimated that a 100MW wave farm could power up to 47,000 Irish homes.
Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and trade 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. We are delighted to be partnering with Vigor, a renowned US marine and industrial fabrication company, who have a track record of delivering cutting edge engineering projects. This internationally significant project will be invaluable to job creation, renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction.”
He added: “With the support of Enterprise Ireland, we have been actively pursuing opportunities in North America. The marine renewables market is rapidly expanding, with the potential of marine energy meeting a significant percentage of the global energy demand. The United States has a substantial wave energy resource, which could deliver up to 15 percent of its annual electricity demand, which would represent a considerable market in electricity sales alone.”