Three ocean energy companies were among the 23 renewable energy demonstration projects awarded a total of over €1.2 billion by the European Commission in December, 2012, under the first call for proposals for the NER300 funding programme. The projects, which received almost €59 million between them, will be co-financed with revenues obtained from the sale of emission allowances from the new entrants' reserve (NER) of the EU Emissions Trading System.
Irish wave energy project WestWave received €19.8 million of funding under the award. WestWave is a collaborative project between the major players in the Irish wave energy development sector, and aims to install and operate wave energy converters capable of generating 5MW of clean electricity by 2015. By building a wave farm of 5MW, the project will demonstrate Ireland’s ability to construct, deploy and operate wave energy converters. It will also pave the way for commercial projects, in terms of consenting procedures, such as foreshore licensing, permitting, electrical grid access and local infrastructure.
Another recipient of NER300 funding, with an award of almost €18.4 million, was SeaGeneration (Kyle Rhea) Ltd, a development company set up by Marine Current Turbines (MCT), which is proposing to develop a tidal stream array at the Kyle Rhea site between the Isle of Skye and the west coast of Scotland. The proposed array will consist of four SeaGen devices and have a total capacity of up to 8MW. The technology used to harness the tidal energy at the site will be the SeaGen device developed by MCT. It is proposed that the turbine array will be installed and operated for up to 25 years, where it will serve as a test case for the development of the technology as part of a programme of further multiple unit arrays.
The third ocean energy project awarded funding under the NER300 programme was the Sound of Islay project to build the world's largest tidal stream energy array. Of the three ocean energy projects awarded under the programme, the Sound of Islay received the largest amount of funding, with €20.65 million awarded. The tidal array will consist of ten 1MW Andritz Hydro Hammerfest HS1000 Tidal Turbines which will be fully submerged on the seabed just south of Port Askaig. Every year, the Sound of Islay Tidal Project will generate about 30GWh of electricity. A single 1MW device was deployed at EMEC, Orkney in late 2011. Based on the success of this test, a further ten devices will be manufactured and deployed in the Sound of Islay.
The NER300 funding programme awarded a total of 23 projects, covering a wide range of renewable technologies, from bioenergy (including advanced biofuels), concentrated solar power and geothermal power, to wind power, ocean energy and distributed renewable management (smart grids).
Collectively they will increase annual renewable energy production in Europe by some 10 TWh, the equivalent of the annual fuel consumption of more than a million passenger cars. More importantly, the aim is to successfully demonstrate technologies that will help substantially scale-up energy production from renewable sources across the EU.
NER300 is implemented by the European Commission with the collaboration of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the project selection, the sale of 300 million carbon allowances from the EU Emissions Trading System and the management of revenues.
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