Ireland’s Marine Institute and Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) have opened a 37 ha wave energy test site a mile and a half off the coast of Spiddal, County Galway that will be open to entrepreneurs and engineers to test prototype ocean energy generators.

The first wave energy generator, Wavebob, has already arrived at Galway Docks and is due to be deployed on the Spiddal site using a quarter scale prototype. The model was built in Belfast’s Harland & Wolfe Shipyard and has received €200,000 in grant support from SEI. Developed at a cost of €1 million, the Wavebob prototype is a floating and self-reacting device that can be deployed in large formations in deep offshore waters.

Commercial wave power generators are expected to come onstream between 2010 and 2015. SEI has a target of 200 MW installed by 2020.