The Marine Institute has been given approval to proceed with the development of a renewable energy test site in Galway Bay.

It has been granted a 35-year foreshore lease for a 37 hectare site off An Spideál.

The facility will be used to see how new technologies can be used in ocean environments.

The site will be used for quarter scale trials of new devices but will have no role in generating power for the national grid. Prototypes will be tested in Galway Bay to ascertain their commercial potential.

Almost 500 objections were lodged during a public consultation on the proposed site earlier this year. Concerns were raised about the impact of the development on tourism, human health and marine safety.

Locals also pointed to the duration of the lease, noise, visual impact, the potential for pollution and the consequences for the natural heritage of the area.

The Department of Housing, which has responsibility for the granting such application, says these concerns have been reflected in specific conditions relating to the management of the site by the Marine Institute.

A dedicated community liaison officer will have to update locals on activities at the site and the number of wind energy devices at sea will be limited.

In addition, testing of energy generating devices will only be permitted during the first ten years of the 35 year lease on the site in question.

A similar site operated in Galway Bay for over a decade until March of this year.

When the licence for that facility expired, a new application for a lease on the site was made.