A new €17 million fund has been launched in support of the ocean renewable energy sector. The fund, which is part of the OCEANERA-NET COFUND project, brings together a consortium of seven governments and agencies from across Europe who are committed to advancing research and development in the ocean energy sector. Of the €17 million it is anticipated that up to €3 million will be made available to Irish companies and will be administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Jim Gannon Chief Executive said: “SEAI is pleased to be a part of innovative supports for the ocean energy sector. Through this programme we are leveraging significant funds and resources across the EU in support of the development of the ocean energy sector. With a sea area ten times our land mass, we recognise the huge potential that ocean energy has to offer Ireland in creating a clean, low carbon economy, attracting investment and creating high value local jobs.” Financed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, the fund is available to companies and research organisations in Scotland, Brittany, Pays de La Loire, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the Basque Country. The fund will support collaborative research projects which demonstrate and validate ocean energy technologies. Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment stated that: “Ireland is delighted to support this initiative as we believe that collaboration is key to finding a workable solution to harness the immense ocean energy resource on our doorstep. We look forward to working with our EU counterparts to unlock this immense potential for the benefit of all.” Exploiting power generated primarily from waves and tides, but also salinity gradient and ocean thermal energy conversion, offers significant potential to contribute to Europe’s future energy needs and boasts longer term international business growth opportunities. While the future global ocean energy market is set to be worth a potential €653 billion by between 2010 and 2050, the value to Ireland’s economy could be €15 billion given our abundant ocean resources. Irish companies are making innovative technology developments with many technologies being advanced through the test stages from early stage testing to full scale. Equally, international companies are being attracted to Ireland given our strengths in ocean R&D and test facilities with Wavepower Technologies Ltd recently announcing ten new jobs in Ireland. Since 2009, SEAI has supported over 80 early stage ocean energy projects through its Prototype Development Fund to the value of €13 million, many of which are now at full-scale testing or are nearing commercialisation.