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Irish firm to build €62m wave energy park

An Irish company has landed a contract to build the world's largest offshore wave energy park off the coast of Cornwall in the UK. Story from Irish Independent

Simply Blue Energy, a Cork-based offshore energy company, is the developer on the project which is expected to cost about £45m (€62m).

The project will be located at the UK's Wave Hub facility.

Wave Hub is a site that is funded by the British government which provides shared offshore infrastructure for the demonstration and proving of offshore renewable energy technologies.

The venture will see around 200 generators located at the facility, providing a 10 megawatt generating capacity. This will make it the largest wave energy park in the world.

The generators will be supplied by a Swedish company called Seabased Industry.

Thirty-six of the wave energy converters were recently installed at Smögen in Sweden and are expected to be connected to the Swedish grid in the coming weeks.

The project at Cornwall is expected to be completed in 2017 and will supply enough electricity to power over 8,000 homes when finished.

Simply Blue Energy was founded in 2011 by Sam Roch-Perks and Hugh Kelly to develop wave energy parks using the Swedish company's technology.

It is understood that the firm will put up approximately 15pc, or €9m, of the cash needed for the project, with much of the rest of the shortfall being made up from a combination of Swedish state backing and UK government grants.

It is understood that there is a "significant" amount of the financing currently in place.

The hub that will be developed is described by its creators as a 'socket' into which wave energy converters can be plugged providing a grid connected infrastructure to bring the electricity generated ashore.

The site was ideal due to a mixture of geography and strong UK government incentives. It is the only site that is fully consented and is ready to go in Europe. What the UK have done is put in a plug in a site that has full planning consent and has some very attractive subsidies.

Sam Rich-Perks, Simply Blue Energy

Mr Roch-Perks added that while the company would like to develop in Ireland "there is too much red tape" for planning.

"For Ireland Inc, renewables are the Holy Grail, we should be pushing like mad to get it [the renewable sector] sorted," he said.

"I would love to do something long term here but there are all sorts of issues regarding planning, it's very difficult and takes a long time, there is too much red tape."