Ireland-Wales Co-operation Programme Accelerates

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A new EU marine energy project is set to flow between Wales and Ireland following a €4.2m EU investment in a cross border project aiming to boost the marine energy industry in Wales and Ireland.

Funded by the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme, the Selkie project will bring together leading researchers and businesses from both nations to create technologies to help improve the performance of ocean energy devices being developed by Irish and Welsh businesses.

University College Cork will lead the project in partnership with Swansea University, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, Anglesey social enterprise Menter Môn, DP Energy Ireland and Dublin-based Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions.

As part of the project, the tools created will be trialled on wave and tidal devices to determine levels of reliability and commercial potential.

The project will also establish a cross-border network of ocean energy developers and supply chain businesses, while supporting research and development programmes involving academics and industry from both nations.

Over the next three years, 150 Irish and Welsh businesses will benefit from the project.

Dr Gordon Dalton, senior researcher at the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), said:

“University College Cork hosts the world class MaREI research centre, which has over 30 years’ experience in the field of marine and renewable energy. We’re delighted to be coordinating the Selkie project, using our facilities and skills to lead the physical testing of prototype devices.

“There are no test tanks of this type in Wales, so this development in the Irish Sea will be a valuable resource. We’re looking forward to collaborating with Welsh device developers to pool expertise and address the challenges facing the marine energy industry.”

Backed by €80m of EU funds, the Ireland-Wales programme is supporting businesses and organisations across both nations to work together in areas including climate change, innovation, cultural heritage and tourism.

The programme is one of a family of European Territorial Co-operation programmes which provide opportunities for regions in the EU to work together to address shared economic, environmental and social challenges.

Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for the delivery of EU funding within Wales, said:

“Bringing together expertise from Wales and Ireland is vital if we’re going to meet the shared challenges and opportunities from our Irish Sea border including the potential to generate clean energy.

“Our relationship with Ireland is very important, so I’m delighted to see our two nations working together on such an important global priority.
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., who has overall policy responsibility for EU Structural Funds in Ireland said: “I am very pleased to welcome a further project under the Ireland-Wales cross-border programme.

“It is a perfect example of the type of synergies that can be leveraged by third level institutions and businesses working in close co-operation and developing innovative and sustainable solutions to meet the energy challenges of the future. I would like to acknowledge and commend the efforts of all involved from University College Cork, Swansea University, and a consortium of businesses and leaders in the renewable energy sector.”