The Irish Government has approved a foreshore lease to the Marine Institute for the installation of a quarter-scale renewable energy test facility that will also see floating wind testing. However, the approval came with a limit for only one floating wind device being tested at a time.The Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test site at Spiddal will enable offshore renewable energy technology developers to move from the model testing in University College Cork through the quarter-scale testing at the Galway Bay Test Site.Ireland’s Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English, said: “This lease is not part of any future commercial offshore renewable energy generating facility. I have consented to this application on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid.” Nevertheless, this testing will give the technology developers an opportunity to deploy an up-scaled device in the future at the consented full scale, pre-commercial, grid-connected Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) in County Mayo. There are currently 13 projects at various stages of development waiting for access to the site.The quarter-scale testing is a necessary phase before commercial scale ocean energy development can proceed and will help underpin the Irish government’s objective of producing 50GW from ocean energy by 2050 by enabling devices to demonstrate their ability of surviving in the country’s open ocean conditions.Regarding the conditions for operating the site, besides testing one floating wind device at a time, Marine Institute must also provide a communications centre and a community liaison officer to keep the public informed of activities at the site, according to Minister English.“I have also decided to restrict the number of floating wind energy devices to one at any one time and I am restricting the time period by which the specified devices must be tested to the first 10 years of the 35 year lease. This will help to assure the public that this site is purely for testing of devices and will not result in an offshore electricity generating station in Galway bay,” English explained.Restricting the testing period to the first ten years and to the devices as described in the current application means that applications to test a device after the first ten-year period has expired and applications to test devices not specified in the current application at any time will require a separate foreshore licence application and will be subject to the full consultation process including a period of public consultation.