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Ireland and U.S. governments collaborating to deploy wave energy converter in 2018 at WETS in Hawaii

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Vigor, based in the state of Oregon on the U.S. northwest coast, will construct the Ocean Energy OE Buoy marine wave energy convertor for deployment in 2018 at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site (WETS). 

Ocean Energy, based in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, made the announcement today saying the contract awarded to Vigor is valued at US$6.5 million. It is part of a $12million project funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), under an agreement committing the American and Irish governments to collaborating on marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies.

WETS is located at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) on the windward (northeast) coast of the island of O‘ahu.

The OE Buoy weighs 826 tons, measures 125 by 59 feet with a draft of 31 feet and has a potential rated capacity of up to 1.25 MW.

Ocean Energy says that when deployed commercially, each OE Buoy device could “reduce CO2 emissions by over 3,6005 tons annually, which for a utility-scale wave farm of 100 MW could amount to over 180,000 tons of CO2 in a full year. It is estimated that a 100 MW wave farm could power up to 18,750 American homes.”

The announcement also cites sources that say wave energy has a market potential of over $18 billion to Ireland’s economy by 2050. Similarly, the U.S. has a substantial wave energy resource, which could deliver up to 15% of its annual electricity demand. In Oregon, the estimated potential value to the annual local economy is $2.4 billion with an associated 13,630 jobs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, said, “Building on the Irish-U.S. 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 U.S. engineering is providing the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site with sustainable and logistical gains and a template for future large-scale projects.”

In December 2016, HydroWorld.com reported EERE announced up to $35 million in available funding to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing that were not significantly represented in EERE's portfolio.

In 2015, SEAI funded the Ireland division of Ocean Renewable Power Co. (ORPC), based in the state of Maine on the U.S. east coast, to establish a location in Letterkenny, County Donegal at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology to identify feasible tidal energy sites in the coastal waters of County Donegal. ORPC is an in-river, tidal and deep-water ocean current power generation systems and projects developer.

Ocean Energy is a portfolio company of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency for the advancement of innovation, entrepreneurship and international business by Irish firms.  The organization provides important strategic and consultative support to Irish businesses and is also Europe’s third-largest venture capital firm by deal count.

Vigor (formerly Oregon Iron Works) specializes in complex fabrication for the hydro industry. From complex wheel, miter, radial, slide gates and bulkheads to a full spectrum of flow control systems, the company has about 2,300 employees and a total of eight locations in three states: Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

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