Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, has announced that the Marine Institute has been awarded a foreshore lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site. The test site located 1.5km off the coast of An Spidéal will allow for the deployment and testing of a range of prototype marine renewable energy devices, innovative marine technologies and novel sensors. The facility will also provide access to the SmartBay observatory allowing researchers and scientists to conduct research in the marine environment. The Marine Institute had operated a test site at the same location for eleven years until March 2017, generating a significant research knowledge base.
The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with a world class leased area in which to safely test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies. The Government recognises the opportunity that ocean energy offers in the National Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan and has, in line with EU Directive (2009/28/EC) set a target of 16% of energy from renewable sources across the electricity, heat and transport sectors by 2020.
Dr. Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO said: "Marine renewable energy is an emerging industry which has very considerable potential for economic growth and job creation. With an exceptional marine resource, Ireland is in a unique position to capitalise on its natural advantages in the area of marine renewable energy. This will happen through the development, manufacture, deployment and operation of wave, tidal and offshore wind technologies and the creation of an indigenous supply chain in Ireland.
We look forward to working with our partners SEAI to make a significant contribution in the evolution of ocean energy as an environmentally friendly and cost effective source of power for Ireland."
SEAI Chief Executive Jim Gannon said, "Ocean energy is an emerging sector for Ireland, offering huge potential in job creation and energy security. A central pillar of Ireland's Ocean Energy Development Plan is our test site infrastructure, which will keep Ireland at the forefront of marine energy development. Facilitated by Minister Denis Naughten and our colleagues in Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, SEAI will continue to support, promote and fund our test site infrastructure to ensure that Ireland's economy gains maximum benefit from this investment."
Under the conditions of the lease, a maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices can be deployed at the test site at any time and will only be deployed for a maximum duration of 18 months, with the exception of any floating wind device which may only be deployed for a maximum of 12 months. The lease has been granted on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid. The Galway Bay test site will operate for up to 35 years, with devices on site intermittently throughout the year.
Under the terms of the lease, the Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring programme available to the public.
The Marine Institute will appoint a community engagement officer to liaise with the local community regarding on-going operations at the site and will provide an information centre in the vicinity of An Spidéal. The centre will provide information about the various devices and instruments being tested at the site as well as information about the activities being undertaken at the site. The Marine Institute will also appoint a fisheries liaison officer to coordinate with relevant stakeholders to minimise any interaction with ongoing fishing activity in the area.
NOTICE OF DETERMINATION
The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government ("the Minister") hereby gives notice that he has determined an application dated 12 February 2016 for a Foreshore Lease under Section 2 of the Foreshore Act, 1933 to the Marine Institute for the installation of the ¼ scale renewable energy test facility, test site infrastructure and specified devices at the proposed Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site, at Spiddal, Co. Galway.
The Minister has determined pursuant to the provisions of the Foreshore Act, 1933 to grant a Foreshore Lease to the Applicant, with effect from 15 December 2017, in respect of the development described in the application, subject to the conditions set out in the Foreshore Lease.
MAIN REASONS AND CONSIDERATIONS
The Minister has had regard to the following matters in determining the application for a Foreshore Lease:
• The nature and scale of the development as described in the application and the supporting documents supplied by the Marine Institute,
• the submissions received from the prescribed bodies,
• the public consultation undertaken,
• the public submissions received,
• the EIA screening performed,
• the AA screening performed,
• the report and recommendations of the MLVC,
• the conditions to be attached to the foreshore consent,
• the provisions of the Foreshore Acts 1933 – 2014, and
• Government policy supporting research and development in the Ocean Energy sector.
Having had regard to the foregoing, and in particular having regard to the lease conditions attached to the Foreshore Lease, and having agreed with the recommendation of the MLVC, the Minister is satisfied (i) that the proposed development on the foreshore would not have significant adverse impacts on human health and safety, nor on the marine environment; (ii) that the proposed development on the foreshore would not adversely affect the integrity of any European site; and (iii) that it is in the public interest to grant the Foreshore Lease having regard to the purpose of the foreshore works.
The following information is available on the website of Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government at:
Department website link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/planning/foreshore/applications/marine-institute-spiddal
i. Notice of Determination;
ii. Approval of the Minister to Grant the Foreshore Lease;
iii. Foreshore Lease as executed between the parties, including conditions attached to the determination (which form part of the Foreshore Lease);
iv. MLVC Report;
v. Information on the public participation process, including copies of all submissions received;
vi. Submissions made by prescribed bodies;
vii. EIA Screening Report;
viii. Appropriate Assessment Screening Report;
ix. Application for a Foreshore Lease together with supporting documents supplied by the Marine Institute.
This material may also be inspected free of charge at the following office of the Department:
Marine Planning and Foreshore Section
Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Tel: 1890 20 20 21
A review procedure is available before the High Court whereby the substantive or procedural legality of the Minister's determination may be challenged. The review procedure is governed by Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986 (S.I. 15 of 1986). A person wishing to avail of the review procedure must first file (i) a statement of grounds; and (ii) a verifying affidavit, in the Central Office of the High Court. It is then necessary to make an application for leave to apply to the High Court.
An application for leave to apply for judicial review shall be made within three months from the date when grounds for the application first arose under Section 21(1) of the Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts as amended by S.I No 691 of 2011. The time-limit for such a review commences from the Date of Publication of this Notice of Determination. Further information on the review mechanism can be obtained on the Citizens Information Board website: www.citizensinformation.ie
Section 50B of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended applies inter alia to Judicial Review Proceedings. The matter of costs is addressed under Subsections (2), (2A), (3) & (4). Notwithstanding anything contained in Order 99 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (S.I. 15 of 1986) and subject to subsections (2A), (3) &(4), in proceedings to which this section applies, each party to the proceedings (including any notice party) shall bear its own costs. The full text of Section 50B is available at:
Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Dated this 15 day of December 2017