RV Celtic Explorer has laid a subsea cable in Galway Bay this week marking a milestone in the development of Ireland’s national marine research and development infrastructure.
The four kilometre cable, and a frame to which sensors and monitoring equipment will be attached is part of the development of an ocean observatory in Galway Bay connecting the Galway Bay Ocean Energy Test Site and to the shore at Spiddal, Co. Galway.
The cable will supply power to the site and allow unlimited data transfer from the site for researchers testing innovative marine technology including renewable ocean energy devices.
The Marine Institute and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have been working together to promote and develop Ireland’s ocean energy potential and this project, with partners SmartBay Ltd, UCC (MarEI – Marine Renewable Energy Ireland), and Dublin City University, is part of a programme to enhance the Galway Bay Ocean Energy Test Site.
A suite of sensors and environmental monitoring equipment will be installed on the cable end frame this summer, as well a floating ‘sea station’ which will give developers real time data on how their devices are performing in the ocean.
Instrument nodes and sensor packages to be installed at the Galway Bay Ocean Energy Test Site this summer will contribute to marine sectors including, environmental monitoring, shipping, maritime security and education. Extensive historical wave and weather data is also available for this site since 2008 and is available to potential device developers.
The cable project is funded in part by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under its Research Infrastructure Call 2012 which contributed €2.2m to the project. The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine contributed an additional €600,000 to the project in 2014. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will fund additional infrastructure and the ongoing operations of the Galway Bay test site through the SEAI Ocean Energy Programme.