SIMPLY BLUE GROUP are to partner with ESB for an energy project in Co Clare.
On Wednesday, Simply Blue and ESB announced that they were pooling expertise and resources to deliver a 5MW wave farm array, located adjacent to the Clare coast. The project will be a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies.
Known as Saoirse and developed by Simply Blue Group, the wave energy demonstration project aims to prove the viability of wave energy in Irish seas. Subject to the necessary consents and a grid connection, the project is on target to be completed by the mid to late 2020s.
Wave energy projects complement wind energy and will help to deliver a more predictable and stable portfolio of renewables. It is estimated that Ireland has up to 18GW of wave resource off its west coast.
The chosen technology for deployment is CorPower Ocean’s Wave Energy Converter (WEC). CorPower Ocean are developers of high-efficiency WECs, enabling reliable and cost-effective harvesting of electricity from ocean waves. The first full-scale demonstration of the CorPower Ocean technology is currently taking place in Portugal.
Sam Roch Perks, Group CEO, Simply Blue Group, said they had been developing the Saoirse concept “for several years and to enter this joint venture with ESB means we can take this project forward at the pace it requires. We have worked very closely with the wave energy sector to find the correct technology and believe the CorPower device represents the best-suited technology to build this exciting project – which will be a world first in wave energy and help Ireland recognise its potential in wave power”.
Jim Dollard, ESB Executive Director, Generation & Trading described it as an “exciting announcement on innovative wave energy conversion technology. ESB amassed significant expertise in wave energy through our WestWave project up to 2016 and we welcome the opportunity to pool these learnings with Simply Blue Group. While the technologies in wave energy conversion are still at an early stage, projects such as the Saoirse initiative are a major step towards providing utility-scale generation from our oceans”.
Already, the project has been pre-selected for funding by the European Commission’s Innovation Fund programme in its third call for projects. The joint venture will now move to negotiations around the preparation of a Grant Agreement for this project, which will conclude in the coming months.
Saoirse is a pre-commercial project that will demonstrate wave energy and will stay in the water off the Co Clare coast for up to 15 years.
Simply Blue have already partnered with EDF Renewables Ireland to develop the Western Star and Emerald floating wind projects. This plans to develop a 1.35GW floating wind farm 35km off the coast of Kilkee which will be located in waters over 100m deep.