This money will go towards research in ocean, wind, geothermal and sustainable energy schemes, and has been welcomed by Energy Minister Eamon Ryan.

Mr Ryan noted that “the energy world is going green”, adding: “We need to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources; we need to deal with the ever-rising cost of oil and we need to tackle climate change. Domestically-produced renewable sources will be pivotal to our solutions.

“We have such energy natural resources that could make us the Saudi Arabia of ocean and wind energy – and it’s all free.”

The extra money will be added to the Euro 149 million that the Irish Government has allocated to energy research under the National Development Plan.

Alternative energy projects that involve Irish partners include the ocean energy converter project Cores, which is coordinated by University College Cork, and Safewind, a wind power assessment tool involving EirGrid.

According to Sustainable Energy Ireland figures, the share of renewables increased from 1.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent of the country’s primary energy requirement for electricity.

Ben Meggeson

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