Galway Bay Cable Observatory

The maximum discharge of wave energy from the Atlantic Ocean is along the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland. Harnessing the energy from those waves to be turned into a supply of electricity for domestic and industrial use requires the testing of devices capable of converting wave energy to electrical energy; ways of bringing that energy onshore; and understanding the maintenance of the energy capture devices.

Ireland’s Marine Test and Demonstration Facility for renewable energy is located in Galway Bay, and the cabled observatory is a key component of the facility. The power and data cable runs from the shore station in Spiddal to an underwater node. This node is a frame with various ports and socket for connecting a range of underwater sensors to the observatory system. The environmental data collected by this system will assist in evaluating test energy capture devices and their performance, reliability and longevity in a real-world marine setting.

The observatory in Galway Bay is an important contribution by Ireland to the growing global network of real-time data capture systems deployed within the ocean – technology giving us new insights into the ocean which we have not had before. Data can be viewed in real-time here and the data archives may be accessed here.

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