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A new €4.2m cross-border project aiming to boost the marine energy industry in Wales and Ireland has been launched by Lesley Griffiths AM, the Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Selkie is funded by the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme and is led by University College Cork in partnership with Swansea University, Marine Energy Wales, Menter Môn, DP Energy Ireland and Dublin-based Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions.

The project will see the development of a streamlined commercialisation pathway for the marine energy industry by establishing a cross-border network of developers and supply chain companies in Ireland and Wales. Multi-use technology tools and models will be created and trialled on pilot projects before being shared across the sector.

The aim is to utilise the expertise from academics and industry across both nations to address the challenges facing the industry.

Selkie has been launched at the annual Ocean Energy Europe conference in Dublin during an evening reception hosted by Welsh Government.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs in Wales, Lesley Griffiths AM said: “Wales has enormous potential to deliver sustainable marine energy thanks to the natural resources we are blessed with. Establishing a cross-border network of developers and supply chain companies in Ireland will further strengthen this industry and allow us to be at the forefront of utilising green energy.

“This project will only strengthen the industry’s ability to push down costs and make it competitive, as well as providing the evidence required by UK Government that the industry is ready for full commercialisation.”

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Ireland, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Ireland’s Climate Action Plan published earlier this year sets out the necessary policy measures to ensure Ireland meets it’s 2030 targets, putting us on a clear pathway to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Cutting our reliance on fossil fuel and transitioning to renewable energy is a key part of the Plan. By 2030, 70% of Ireland’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources. 

Both Ireland and Wales have large wave and tidal resources, which have the potential to contribute significantly to this transition. I am pleased to support the Selkie Project under the Ireland-Wales cross-border programme with the ultimate aim of facilitating Irish and Welsh SMEs within the sector to progress along the pathway to commercialisation.”

Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles AM, 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.”

If you would like to find out more about Selkie or would like to register your interest to be involved in one of the pilot projects, please email TJ Horgan, University College Cork.

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