The Irish Wave Energy Developers Association represent 11 early stage Irish device developers.
We believe that a viable Wave Energy Industry can be created in Ireland with huge economic benefits for the country. Our members will be the basis on which this industry will be built.
Wave energy converters (WECs) have long been considered as a possible source of generating electrical energy owing to the high power density found in a number of coastal areas with identified high energy wave climates.
These areas include the Atlantic coast of Ireland, which is a world class resource with an average wave climate that is consistently over 50kW/m. In such climates, it can be expected that there will be occasional waves of much larger magnitude during storms, and steep waves of over 20m in height are not uncommon.
Unlike for wind energy, where the horizontal axis turbine is dominant, the conversion of wave energy to electricity can involve a wide range of approaches and designs.
The main device types are point absorbers, surface attenuators, oscillating water columns, overtopping devices and oscillating wave surge converters. These can vary in scale from small units to power remote buoys to multi-MW grid-integrated systems.
While there has been much research and development work carried out in recent years, a number of technical challenges involved in operating WECs economically over their full lifespan remain, with occasional expensive lessons having been learnt from deployment in real seas. In addition, the overall lifetime economics of WECs have to be considered likely to compete with other sources of power generation including gas, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear before there is a major investment commitment.
At IWEDA, we recognise these realities, but also the great long term potential of wave energy as a concentrated and fully renewable source of energy that has resource characteristics that are significantly different to wind.
“We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people” -JFK