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An Irish company is behind the 'world's largest, commercial wave farm'

But will it work?

AN IRISH COMPANY is behind the world’s largest wave farm in the United Kingdom.

And it firmly believes it’s going to be commercial viable.

Simply Blue Energy, founded in Ireland four years ago, is joining forces with Wave Hub, who have provided the infrastructure for the project off the coast of Cornwall at a cost of a roughly £30 million.

A contract was signed last week to give the green light to the project.

How the technology works is relatively simple – a buoy sits on surface of the water with a cable running to a generator sitting on the seabed. As the waves move the buoy up and down, the cable pulls a magnet up and down within the generator.

seabased_kraftpark_1

The company’s chief operations officer, Hugh Kelly, told TheJournal.ie that the company is anxious to bring a similar project home to Ireland, but they decided to jump at the opportunity to install generators in a location where the infrastructure were already there.

“We’re absolutely confident that it will be commercially viable,” he said.

It uses well-established principles, and the technology has been quietly developing over the past few years.

Simply Blue has looked to Scandinavia for influence on this project. Seabased Industry is currently deploying dozens of these Wave Energy Converters in a farm off the east coast of Sweden. After delays due to bad weather, 21 were installed over the course of two days earlier this month.

Kelly stressed that compared to other forms of wave power, the devices are simple to install, and quick to bring back to the surface is there is an issue.

Kelly said the devices generally grouped together in bunches of 40, with a combined capacity of 2MW.

Wave Energy Converter Deployment One of the devices being installed. Source: Simply Blue Energy

Simply Blue’s website reads that the capacity factor – or how much of this electricity will actually be produced – will be 50%.

It has previously be estimated that a capacity factor of 30-40% is needed for wave power to be viable.

And the environmental impact? Kelly said that some studies have shown it be positive, saying there are “no nasty chemicals” involved, and that fish often use the generators as a shelter.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimates that Ireland has a ‘wave energy resource’ of as much as 525Twh, compared to the roughly 30Twh needed in Ireland per year.

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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