Marine Institute

Galway Bay Test Site

The Galway Bay ¼ scale wave energy test site has been in operation since 2006.  The site is situated on the North side of Galway Bay, 1 mile East of Spiddal.  The site is 37 Hectares in depths of 20-23m.  The area is marked by navigation markers on each corner.  The site has provided test and validation facilities for a number of devices to date.  Real time oceanographic data are available on the Galway Bay dashboard.  Time series data and full spectral data set are available through the Marine Institute’s Data Request service.  Further details are available here.

The Marine Institute, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the MarEI Centre (Marine Renewable Energy Ireland) and SmartBay Ireland have been working together to enhance research infrastructure at the test site.  This provides ground-breaking test and demonstration facilities for marine energy and technology.  The project was funded through a grant from Science Foundation Ireland, at a total cost of €3.6m and consists of 3 components:

  • A standard telecommunications cable from a shore station via the new pier at Spiddal (west) to the wave energy test site providing power and data connectivity
  • Subsea test and monitoring platforms
  • Floating sea station platform

The first two components, the Galway Bay subsea Cabled Observatory, were installed in 2015.

The 4km cable was installed in April 2015 using the Marine Institute’s research vessel the R.V. Celtic Explorer and comes ashore at Spiddal Pier.   Researchers can bring their marine instruments and sensors to the test site.  These can be plugged into dedicated science ports on the subsea test platform.  The subsea test and monitoring platform was deployed in August 2015.  Detailed technical descriptions are available at the following link.  

SEAI and the Marine Institute have been working to promote and develop ocean energy potential in Ireland.  At 900,000 square kilometres Ireland's sea area is around 10 times the size of our land area and with one of the best offshore renewable energy resources in the world- the opportunities are immense. In February 2014 the Department of Energy Communications and Natural Resources  (DECNR) published the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan to enable Ireland to develop this potential and to become an export market in green energy with enhanced security of supply. SEAI have been working closely with DCENR to implement this plan.

If you are interested in using the test site for testing prototype devices and for research projects, please contact SmartBay Ireland with your Expressions of Interest.