Bord Gáis has acquired a 20cp stake in Irish wave energy company Tonn Energy in a bid to further develop its renewable energy portfolio.
Bord Gais will acquire 20pc of Tonn Energy as part of the deal and will see the energy company working close with Vattenfall – producer of wind farms in Germany and the UK – towards the development of full-scale wave farms in Ireland.
The acquisition of Tonn Energy signals a further effort on behalf of Bord Gáis to diversify its energy portfolio and CEO of Bord Gáis, John Mullins, believes that focusing on wave energy is practical, considering the natural energy resources on the west coast of Ireland.
“The potential of the Irish wave energy resource is enormous and Irish utilities are determined to capitalise on that resource. In addition to fostering the development of wave energy technologies like the Wavebob, it is important that utilities such as Bord Gáis play their part in the development of the first wave farms.
“We intend to be actively involved in Tonn Energy, alongside Vattenfall, and we will commit our own resources to the realisation of Ireland’s ocean energy opportunity.”
Vattenfall and Wavebob established Tonn Energy in 2008 as a joint venture and both companies have had successes in both the US and European renewable energy markets.
Tonn Energy was established in 2008 as a joint venture development company between the Swedish power utility Vattenfall AB and Wavebob Ltd, the Irish wave technology company. The Bord Gáis investment will be made from its Alternative Energy Research Fund, which was established to support the development of emerging sustainable energy sources.
Tonn Energy’s project director, Harvey Appelbe, believes the Bord Gáis decision to engage in wave farm development marks a key turning point for Irish wave energy development.
“Ireland has a unique growth opportunity, having immense clean and renewable wave energy. Care has been taken to put in place co-ordinated planning and procedures in Ireland but we must now start working together to build wave farm projects, before Ireland loses the opportunity to other countries,” Appelbe says.