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Marine Institute denies turbines in Galway Bay plan

The Marine Institute has said it is not seeking permission to install three wind turbines in Galway Bay and it is “correcting an error” in its lease application form.

The institute applied in February to the Department of the Environment for a 35-year foreshore lease to upgrade its existing ocean energy test site off Spiddal, Co Galway.

The lease application form lodged seeks to deploy up to three “devices” at any one time on the site, including up to three wind turbines of 60 metres in height.

The proposed test generating station would cover 37 hectares of the bay – about 30 times the size of Croke Park. However, the institute says a prototype floating wind turbine being tested on the site could have a blade tip at a maximum 35 metres above sea level while wave energy converters would be up to five metres above sea level – not 60 metres and 30 metres respectively as stated in its application.

It said only three devices could be deployed on the site and, given the cost of developing a prototype – up to €1 million – “only one prototype of a particular device would normally be tested at any given time”.

It added that the purpose was to allow technology innovators to test the viability of small-scale prototypes in an ocean environment.