Simply Blue, the Cork-based developer of offshore floating wind energy projects, has received a further €25m investment from UK-based Octopus Energy. Other investors have stumped up an additional €2.5m for the Irish group.
Firms controlled by Octopus control about 38pc of Simply Blue following the deal.
The investment is a major boost for Simply Blue and comes just weeks after Shell ended a partnership with the company as the energy giant exited Ireland’s offshore wind-power market.
Simply Blue has a global pipeline of more than 10GW of floating offshore wind projects. Floating wind foundations are typically used in deep water where fixed foundations are not economically feasible.
Simply Blue’s projects include two major planned schemes in Ireland. The Western Star field is slated to deliver a total of 1.35GW of wind energy in two phases. The offshore wind farm at least 35km from the Co Clare coast, coupled with a wave energy conversion array about 4km from the coast, will cost as much as €2bn to develop.
Simply Blue’s Emerald project will see a 1GW floating offshore wind farm being built off Kinsale.
Shell had been involved in both those projects before it ceased its presence in the Irish offshore wind-energy sector.
Simply Blue is also involved in e-fuels, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture projects.
Octopus made its initial investment in Simply Blue in August last year, stumping up €15m for a 24pc stake in the Irish firm.
The latest deal includes a funding commitment that can be drawn down by Simply Blue next year.
The investment by Octopus was made on behalf of Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust and the Sky fund.
Octopus manages over 3GW of renewable energy assets including wind and solar farms across 11 countries.
“The floating offshore wind sector will undoubtedly play a vital role in the clean energy system of the future,” said Chris Gaydon, investment director at Octopus Energy Generation.
He said that Simply Blue’s development pipeline of floating offshore wind energy projects has “grown significantly” in the past year.
“Given falling costs, improving technology and growing investment, this area is going from strength to strength,” he said.
Sam Roch-Perks, the co-founder and chief executive of Simply Blue, said the fresh investment by Octopus demonstrates its continuing support for the Irish company and the renewables sector.
“With our strong pipeline of global projects, this investment will enable us to grow our pipeline even further and move forward with a range of international projects outside of floating offshore wind,” he said.
Shell’s exit from the Irish market this year marked the second time in less than a year that a major energy group ended its involvement in the Irish offshore wind energy sector, where planning delays have been heavily criticised.
In November last year, Norway’s Equinor ended its partnership with the ESB as the pair advanced plans for a number of offshore wind projects around the coast of Ireland. A number of major offshore wind energy projects are planned around Ireland.