Blue economy developer Simply Blue Group and Ireland’s premier energy company ESB have partnered up to pool expertise and resources to deliver a pioneering 5MW wave energy farm, located close to the Co Clare coast in Ireland.
The project will be a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies, ESB and Simply Blue Group said.
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.
Once deployed, the project is expected to stay in the water for up to 15 years.
The chosen technology for deployment is CorPower Ocean’s wave energy converter (WEC). CorPower Ocean is a Swedish developer of high efficiency WECs, and is currently demonstrating its first full-scale device offshore Portugal.
Sam Roch Perks, Simply Blue Group’s CEO, said: “We have been developing Saoirse as a 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 recognize its potential in wave power.”
Welcoming the announcement, Jim Dollard, ESB’s executive director for generation & trading, said: “ESB is delighted to be a part of this 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.”
Patrik Möller, CEO of CorPower Ocean, added: “We are thrilled to see ESB join Simply Blue Group in the Saoirse project, bringing their vast experience and resources to develop utility-scale wave farms. This is an important step for Ireland towards net-zero targets, where the ocean can play a key role in bringing stability to the clean energy mix, allowing us to leave fossil fuels behind.”
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 Saoirse project has been pre-selected for funding by the European Commission’s Innovation Fund program in its third call for projects, announced in July 2023. 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.
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