Marine Renewable Energy Resource

Ireland is ideally located to benefit from our natural marine renewable energy resource generated in the Atlantic Ocean.  Ireland possesses one of the richest wave and tidal energy climates in the world.  The Wave energy resources potentially available to Ireland could meet 75% of the Republic's electricity requirement. 

Wave Resource

Wave Energy refers to the energy contained in the ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to generate electricity. The wave power is determined by wave height, wave speed, wave length, and water density.  Off the west coast of Ireland, the annual average wave height is 2.5m-3m, however winter events are substantially greater.  

Marine Weather Buoy Network 

The Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network provides weather and wave data at 6 locations around the Irish coast.  Real-time wave height and direction data are available on the website and it updated hourly.  It is possible to download 3 days of data from the Weather Buoy Network Observations website, if you require a longer time series, you can request this through the data request service.

Real-time Wave Information

The Marine Institute has installed 2 directional Waveriders on the west coast of Ireland.  Real-time wave information is available at the 1/4 scale wave energy test site in Galway Bay to support developers of Ocean Energy devices. There is a second waverider at the proposed full scale wave energy test site off Belmullet.  The wave data are updated every 3 minutes and can be viewed the through the map on the Integrated Marine Observation System.  Recent wave data is also available for download.

Weekly Wave Forecast

Oceanographic Services run the SWAN numerical wave model on a weekly basis. This provides a weekly Wave Forecast and predicts the wave direction, height, speed and period on a 1 km grid for Irish waters.

Wave Energy Atlas

The Marine Institute and SEAI commissioned ESBI to complete an atlas of the wave energy resource in Irish waters. The report is available to download as a PDF and the corresponding maps and figures are accessible through the Marine Institute web mapping services:
Accessible Wave Energy Resource Atlas: Ireland, 2005 (pdf,703k)
Appendices to Wave Energy Resource Atlas: Ireland, 2005 (pdf,316k)
Irish Wave Energy Resource (Map viewer)

 Wave modelling

The Oceanographic Services team provide a wave modelling service to simulate the propagation of swell and the development of wind generated waves, using the SWAN computer model. This work is mainly associated with the development of wave energy devices using the wave energy test site in Galway Bay.

Tidal Resource

The Irish tidal resource is concentrated off the East Coast. The tidal flow is relatively strong entering the Irish Sea; in St. George’s Channel and the North Channel. Depth Averaged Peak Spring Tidal Currents in these areas are up to 2m/s. The Irish Sea experiences a moderate current with Peak Spring Tidal Currents between 1-2m/s. Local bathymetry influences the current strengths. The tidal currents are generally low along the west and south coasts. There are isolated locations where the current is strong however, for example Shannon Estuary, Bull's Mouth and Inishtrahull Sound.

The Marine Institute runs a hydrodynamic model that provides 7-day forecasts of ocean temperature, salinity and currents.  The ROMS (Regional Ocean Modeling System), is run for a domain that covers a significant portion of the northeast Atlantic and the Irish Sea at a resolution of 2.5 km.