As Irish energy prices continue to rise, should we be spending significant amounts of money on Marine energy research?
The recently announced Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), at University College Cork (UCC) is being funded by €19 million from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) with a further €10.5 million from 45 industry partners.
Is this more money down the drain, or part of a joined up thinking strategy?
While Ireland is undoubtedly surrounded by ocean energy, we have still to see any quantifiable amount of electricity actually generated by the money invested in this sector to date. There are a handful of jobs in the area but these will only be sustainable if there is a market and a customer at the end of the pipeline, and with current energy prices for alternative generation technology a fraction of the cost of ocean energy, the only reason Ireland is a leader in this area is, no other country in the world has seen any cost-benefit from spending millions on technologies that can just not compete in the open market.