“We would like to pass on huge congratulations to the CorPower team for completing the dry testing of the CorPower C4. We are really excited to see the results following ocean deployment and to continue working closely with CorPower going on to C5 and into the future. Wave energy presents a difficult challenge, but it must be solved. We are delighted to working to achieve this with our partners in Sweden given their engineering pedigree, technical ability and past achievements.”
What does the Simply Blue Group do and what stimulated your interest in marine renewables?
The Simply Blue Group is a blue economy developer focusing on floating wind, wave and offshore aquaculture. Personally, my interest in the blue economy stems from being an Irishman and living on an island. I was born and raised just outside a small coastal village called Ardmore, on the south coast (country Waterford). Throughout my lifetime I’ve seen that huge energy resource coming ashore every day, and I’m fascinated to work with people trying to figure out the challenge of harnessing this power. While Ireland is relatively small, its marine area is eight times our land mass. Not only that, it has shallow coastal waters because of the continental shelf which presents a huge opportunity to develop and work with the ocean in a sustainable way.
What is the future role of wave energy?
The role of energy moving forward is linked to the huge energy reserve contained in the oceans. The ocean is the largest natural battery we have, so it’s something we must explore as a society. There is also a crucial gird balancing piece here, looking at the complementary role wave energy can provide supplementing more established but intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.
What is the connection between CorPower and the Simply Blue Group?
We set up in 2011 and started exploring wave energy early on so it’s within our DNA. This work began in the Southwest UK, before carrying out a commercial horizon scanner in 2015 of all wave concepts globally. As part of that report which we published in 2016 we identified CorPower as a leading wave energy technology developer with major potential. In 2019, we signed a collaboration agreement. After revisiting the work in 2020 and reviewing the rapidly advancing technology we are delighted to be working with CorPower to develop ‘Project Saoirse’ off Ireland’s West Coast. This is a pre-commercial 5MW project located 4-6km offshore from County Clare, where there is substantial resource. It’s an exciting step for both CorPower and the Simply Blue Group with a second deployment stage reaching 25 MW capacity.
What is on the horizon for the Simply Blue Group?
The Simply Group has grown dramatically over the last several years. We are delighted to have formed a second partnership with TotalEnergies in the US, in addition to our work together in the Southwest UK. In addition, we have launched a second joint venture with Shell in Ireland with the Western Star Project. We are also partnering with Subsea 7 to deliver a separate project in Scotland. We are working with many experienced offshore oil and gas operators where we can benefit from decades of knowledge to inform the development of future marine energy technology.
How is the Simply Blue Group positioning itself?
Moving forward our role as a blue economy developer concerns ‘multi-use’ of the sea for instance combining floating wind and wave, while addressing marine protected areas, biodiversity and local coastal communities. One of the big positives about wave energy is it generally involves smaller devices, so the technology can be fabricated and assembled in much smaller ports. A huge part of our drive and passion is to bring back employment to coastal communities.