Introduction

Background to the Marine Renewables Industry Association

The Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA) represents companies and interests in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Marine Renewables Emerging Technologies (MRET) sector..

Energy generated by wave or tidal devices is known as ocean energy which, when taken together with energy generated by offshore wind devices (both bottom fixed and floating), is known as marine energy or, more usually, marine renewables.

The Marine Renewables Emerging Technologies, MRIA's area of concern, include ocean energy and floating offshore wind energy as well as 'hybrids' (energy convertors which combine wave and floating wind devices).

Oceans cover 70% of the globe and 60% of the world's population live within 50 miles of its oceans. The oceans are energy bountiful because they have energy rich currents, waves, winds and tides. The oceans are, for example, the world's biggest 'heat sink' and its largest wind source. Research suggests that the oceans could be the source of as much as 10-15,000Twh of electricity per year. To put that in perspective, just the wave energy resource alone potentially available to Ireland* could meet at least 70% of its electricity requirements!

* https://www.seai.ie/sustainable-solutions/renewable-energy/ocean-energy/

Ireland's leading position in Marine Renewables

Ireland's geographical position (North and South) and climate determine that it is one of the best locations in the world for marine renewables. This local natural resource-based opportunity is backed up by Governent policy initiatives to develop the industry - the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan in the Republic of Ireland and the Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan 2012-2020 in Northern Ireland. Moreover, Ireland is home to a number of the leading companies in marine renewables (e.g. OpenHydro, DP Energy and Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries) both in the device development and the project development fields as well as globally significant test facilities (e.g. the 1/4 scale test site at 'SmartBay' in Galway, the Lir National Ocean Test Facility in Cork and the suite of wave and tidal facilities operated by Queens University Belfast at Portaferry, Co Down) and industry led research programmes in marine renewables, notably MaREI which is spearheaded by University College Cork.

Objectives of the MRIA

The role of the Marine Renewables Industry Association is to promote the development and implementation of policy concerning the Marine Renewables Emerging Technologies. MRIA seeks to ensure that marine renewables development takes place in Ireland, North and South, to exploit our vast natural energy resource stemming from the ocean and, second, to build a significant 'island of Ireland' position in the global marine renewables supply chain.

Organisation

The MRIA is a limited company which looks after the corporate affairs of the organisation on a non-profit basis. The separate Council is the principal policy and decision making body of MRIA. The Association organises the widely attended annual Marine Renewables Emerging Technologies Industry Forum; participates in research and policy fora; prepares policy submissions on behalf of members and generally seeks to influence key decision-takers in offshore renewable energy; is a member of the Board of Ocean Energy Europe; and is represented on many other policy and research bodies.