Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 30 September, 1998

Written Answers - Wave Energy Generation.

235. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Public Enterprise when it is proposed to announce the winner of the competition to build a wave power station, recommendations on which were received by her Department from the energy technology support unit at Harewell in February 1998; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17239/98]

236. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if her attention has been drawn to the operation, over the past eight years, of a wave power station which was built by Queens University, Belfast, on the island of Islay in the Scottish Inner Hebrides; her views on whether a similar facility might prove effective in our western coastal waters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17240/98]

[393] 237. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the proposals, if any, she has to resource research into the harnessing of wave energy off our coasts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17241/98]

240. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Public Enterprise whether her attention has been drawn to a suggestion (details supplied) that Ireland is in a particularly favourable situation for harvesting wave power, especially along the west coast and could generate all the electricity it needs from waves and produce a surplus for export; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17245/98]

241. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Public Enterprise whether the grant-aid from the EU designated for the building of a wave power station is at risk of being lost due to delays that have occurred in the public competition which was run by her Department; the reason for the delay in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17246/98]

269. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the position in relation to the proposal to develop a wave energy generating station for which £1 million of EU funds have been set aside; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17957/98]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs O'Rourke): I propose to take Questions Nos. 234, 235, 237, 240, 241 and 269 together.

I have received a final report from ETSU recommending the WaveGen Ireland proposal as winner of the wave energy-to-electricity section of the AER III competition.

I noted in the final report that the winning applicant had applied for 1.24 MECU in European Regional Development Fund grant aid under the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme for the project, provision of which was subject to the approval of the monitoring committee of the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme and the European Commission.

The monitoring committee, which includes the European Commission, has decided not to provide grant assistance for the wave energy station from the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme. It is the committee's view, based on an assessment of the project by the committee's independent evaluator, that wave technology has not advanced sufficiently beyond the research stage to justify assistance under this particular Operational Programme. In theory, Ireland has considerable potential for generating electricity from wave power. I believe it is important that we begin to harness that power and for that reason I am prepared to consider nominating the project to receive an offer of a power purchase agreement at its bid price.

My Department is currently in contact with the project proposers in that regard.