WAVE ENERGY CONVERSION PIONEER, OCEANENERGY, INKS MAJOR DEAL FOR DEPLOYMENT AT US NAVY WAVE ENERGY TEST SITE IN HAWAII
Enterprise Ireland portfolio firm’s “OE Buoy” marine hydrokinetic convertor to be fabricated by Oregon‐based Vigor. Some 7,000 miles separates Ireland and Hawaii but, as island peoples, both have always looked to their respective oceans for resources, inspiration and opportunity. Today, Irish company OceanEnergy announced its pioneering wave energy convertor “OE Buoy” will be built by Oregon‐ based Vigor and deployed at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site on the windward coast of the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu in the fall of 2018. The contract value is $6.5m out of a total project value of $12m for this first of a kind grid scale project at the US Navy Wave Energy Test site.
The project underscores the increasing significance of the bilateral economic relationship between Ireland and the United States. In 2017, Irish businesses employed more than 100,000 people in the US, and the number of jobs created by partnerships such as that between Vigor and OceanEnergy pushes the Irish contribution to US employment multiples higher. Wave energy has a market potential of over $18 billion(1) to Ireland’s economy by 2050. Similarly, the US has a substantial wave energy resource, which could deliver up to 15 percent(2) of its annual electricity demand. In Oregon, the estimated potential value to the local economy is $2.4 billion(3) per annum with an associated 13,630 jobs4.
The sustainability aspects of this project are also indicative of the value that Irish innovation and entrepreneurship consistently provides US partners. The 826‐ton “OE Buoy” measures 125 x 59 feet with a draft of 31 feet and has a potential rated capacity of up to 1.25 MW in electrical power production. Each deployed commercial 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 18,7506 American homes.
Commenting on their partnership with OceanEnergy, Vigor CEO, Frank Foti, noted that his company has been actively engaged in building wave energy devices and their components for the past ten years ‐” We are thrilled to be participating in this project with OceanEnergy toward the ongoing goal of a cleaner energy future for our planet. This project represents a solid step forward in developing a commercially viable product to help move us in that critical direction.”
OceanEnergy 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.
“With rigorous testing and scaling of OE Buoy over the past ten years, today’s announcement of the device being built in Oregon represents a truly major milestone for OceanEnergy,” said John McCarthy, OceanEnergy USA LLC Chief Executive Officer. “It’s the combination of Irish innovation and American manufacturing expertise and that’s always going to produce a world‐class result. We are delighted to be partnering with Vigor, a renowned US marine and industrial fabrication company, who have a track record of delivering cutting edge engineering projects. This internationally significant project will be invaluable to job creation, renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction.”
Commenting on this positive development, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, said, “Building on the Irish‐US government MoU for collaboration on marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies’ research, OceanEnergy and its partners are demonstrating how transatlantic cooperation can yield immensely productive results —Irish innovation coupled with US engineering is providing the US Navy Wave Energy Test Site with sustainable and logistical gains and a template for future large‐scale projects.”
The $12million project is part‐funded by the US Department of Energy’s 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 Hydrokinetic Technologies.
“SEAI invests in research and innovation to promote the development of new technologies. For a number of years we have supported OceanEnergy and are delighted to see them reach the significant milestone of full scale sea trials. It is also great to see Irish companies benefitting from continued US Ireland collaboration in sustainable energy, and using the wave energy facilities and resources to best effect.” stated Jim Gannon, CEO, SEAI.
2 The Future Potential of Wave Power in the United States ‐ Prepared by RE Vision Consulting on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy August 2012.
http://www.re‐ vision.net/documents/The%20Future%20of%20Wave%20Power%20MP%209‐20‐ 12%20V2.pdf
4 Oregon Wave Energy Trust
5 OceanEnergy USA LLC
6 OceanEnergy USA LLC
About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the Irish State agency that works with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth and regional development, and help create and sustain employment in Ireland. www.enterprise‐ireland.com
About OceanEnergy USA
OceanEnergy USA LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the OceanEnergy Group and is actively pursuing opportunities in the US market. Marine renewables represent a market space that is relatively small at present, but is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decade. The opportunity for marine energy is that it can meet a significant percentage of the global energy demand. In the United States, the technical potential of wave energy for example could meet roughly 15% of the electricity needs, which would represent a market of over $ 50bn/year in electricity sales alone. Globally, wave power could meet up to 10% of the electric energy needs.
About OceanEnergy Group
OceanEnergy is the trading name of New Wave Technologies Limited, part of a specialised commercial group of companies developing wave energy technology. The group’s companies are developing technology which has been extensively tested and is now at a stage where it is one of the most commercially viable technologies for harnessing the power of the oceans. The device, through careful development, has the advantages of a robust and practical design, one moving part and proven survivability having withstood over three years of live sea trials in Atlantic waves at the Irish Wave Energy Test site in Galway Bay, to date, no other Wave Energy system can claim success in this area to a similar or greater extent.
Vigor is an innovator in complex fabrication, a specialized shipbuilder and a ship repair powerhouse. With approximately 2,300 employees and eight locations in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, all Vigor companies share common goals: providing world‐class maritime and industrial services to build the products customers need, to build the family‐wage career opportunities craftspeople deserve, and to strengthen the communities where Vigor employees live and work. For more information, visit vigor.net.