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2.3 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Interest in renewable energy in Ireland has increased continually over the past decade. This interest is due primarily to security of supply issues and the effects of climate change. Ireland imports over 90% of its primary energy consumption, mostly in the form of fossil fuels. The exploitation of Ireland’s vast indigenous renewable energy resources is required in order to reduce this over dependence on fossil fuel imports to meet energy demand. Various targets have been set by the Irish government to incorporate renewable energy technologies into Ireland’s energy market. As a result of these targets, the development in wind energy has increased substantially over the past decade; however this method of energy extraction is intermittent and unpredictable. Ireland has an excellent tidal current energy resource and the use of this resource will assist in the development of a sustainable energy future. Energy extraction using tidal current energy technologies offers a vast and predictable energy resource. This paper reviews the currently-accepted tidal current energy resource assessment for Ireland. This assessment was compiled by Sustainable Energy Ireland in a report in 2004. The assessment employed a 2-dimensional numerical model of the tidal current velocities around Ireland, and from this numerical model the theoretical tidal current energy resource was identified. With the introduction of constraints and limitations, the technical, practical, accessible and viable tidal current energy resources were obtained. The paper discusses why the assessment needs updating including the effect on the assessment of the current stage of development of tidal current turbines and their deployment technology.
O'Rourke, F., Boyle, F., Reynolds, A.: Tidal current energy resource assessment in Ireland: Current status and future update. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2010. 14(9): p. 3206-3212.