AN IRISH ocean-energy company has signed a major deal with a US firm that takes the production of energy from the power of waves a step closer.
Thousands of jobs could be created as part of a global wave- energy market that is worth an estimated €200bn each year, Ocean Energy said.
The jobs would be in manufacturing the electricity devices, in operations, fit-out, repair and maintenance.
The company says that for every megawatt (MW) of ocean energy installed, eight jobs would be created. The Government wants 75MW of ocean power on stream by 2010 and 500MW by 2020.
The Cork-based company will team up with multinational Dresser-Rand, which will supply and develop turbines to help produce clean and green electricity. The move will help Ireland's reputation as a leader in the industry.
Governments are pressurising industry to develop clean and renewable sources of energy to help reduce global warming and cut fuel bills.
Yesterday the company said that the generation of commercial quantities of electricity from Irish wave power had moved a step closer.
The deal endorsed Ocean Energy's technology and also boosted the Government's alternative-energy strategy, it said.
"We are the only company in the world Dresser-Rand have entered into a development-and-supply agreement with and we see this not only as an endorsement of our technology, but of the Irish Government's development strategy for the industry," chief executive John McCarthy said.
"Together we will be able to provide clients with a high level of confidence in the global wave-energy market, which is estimated to be worth €200bn per annum.
"There will also be the added benefit of creating thousands of Irish jobs as well as providing much needed solutions to our energy and greenhouse gas problems."
The company has tested a quarter-scale energy buoy for the last two years at a test site in Galway Bay. It is the only device of its type to have undergone and survived such a rigorous testing regime. Dresser Rand are world-renowned turbine manufacturers. It has a market capitalisation of $2.5bn and has 62,000 turbines operating in over 140 countries.
"To have their support for our company is a significant endorsement of our technology by a company with such pedigree," Mr McCarthy added.
Dresser-Rand said capturing energy from wave power could provide up to 25pc of global electricity demand.