Simply Blue Energy bets on a friendly wave

Sam Roch-Perks’s company plans to develop wave energy farm off Cornwall coast

Sam Roch-Perks, a Cork property investor-turned renewable energy promoter, whose company plans to develop a huge wave energy farm off the Cornwall coast, has assembled a coterie of high-profile backers to help float the project.

Roch-Perks runs Simply Blue Energy with his business partner, Hugh Kelly, who is president of the Irish Exporters' Association. Simply Blue recently signed a deal with Wavehub, a UK government-backed renewable energy test site, to deploy about 200 small wave energy generators at the site.

The project will cost about £45 million, with some of the money coming from research and development grants. Roch-Perks says Simply Blue has also received commitments from a number of private investors.

Anthony Gurnee, a Waterford-based former US Navy officer who founded Ardmore Shipping, which is listed on the US stock exchange, recently came on board as a director.


Hugh McCutcheon, the former Davy corporate financier, has also joined the advisory board of Simply Blue, which also includes former investment banker Hylton Murray-Philipson, who once ran the New York operations of Henry Ansbacher bank. He previously invested in recycling outfit Agrivert, whose former managing director, James Astor, is also now on Simply Blue's rejigged board.

Simply Blue, the developer of the wave energy farm, is using technology developed by a Swedish company in which Roch-Perks is also an investor, Seabased, which recently deployed the technology off the coast of its homeland.

He knows the country well, as he also runs a Swedish-Irish property company, Swirish (sure, what else would you call it?) and his wife Petra hails from the Scandinavian country. "We hope to have the first phase of generators in the water next year," said Roch-Perks, who said there were are not yet any suitable sites for Seabased's technology off the Irish coast.

Roch-Perks, an engineer by trade, once set up an Irish bar in Hong Kong with a friend because he couldn’t find anywhere decent there to have a pint. “It was my first business. I was only in my 20s,” he pleaded. Since then, he’s progressed from beer to water, with Simply Blue. One to keep an eye on.