DCNS to buy majority stake in Irish tidal energy company OpenHydro

23 Jan 2013

An OpenHydro tidal turbine for the offshore tidal installation off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat, France

French naval defence and energy company DCNS is to spend in the region of €130m to gain a majority stake in the Irish tidal energy company OpenHydro, which makes turbines to generate electricity from tidal streams.

Under the deal, DCNS is set to increase its holding in the capital of OpenHydro from 11pc to 59.7pc to gain a foothold in the marine energy industry.

Patrick Boissier, chairman and CEO of DCNS, said the company is aiming to achieve annual sales of at least €1bn by 2025 in the tidal energy market.

Following the deal, which is set to be completed in the first half of 2013, subject to regulatory approval, OpenHydro will retain its team and brand.

The Irish company was founded in 2004 and currently employs 90 people based at its headquarters in Dublin and at its technical centre in Greenore, Co Louth.

OpenHydro has developed a turbine that is capable of generating renewable energy from tidal streams. The company has formed commercial partnerships with electricity suppliers to develop tidal farms in Europe and North America. For instance, it has been working with the French utility giant EDF since 2011 to install turbines as part of a tidal installation off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat in France.

OpenHydro is also working with SSE Renewables to install turbines in the Pentland Firth, Scotland.

Last October, OpenHydro and Irish energy provider Bord Gáis were awarded a lease to develop a 100MW tidal energy farm off Torr Head in north Co Antrim.

DCNS confirmed that industrial facilities will be set up in the regions where OpenHydro will be prime contractor for turbine farms.

“This operation is a practical implementation of our ambition in marine renewable energy, which is one of DCNS’ development priorities for the coming decades,” said Bossier.

OpenHydro’s CEO James Ives said the DCNS acquisition was testament to the work achieved by the team since 2004.

“We share with DCNS a passion for the sea and for leading-edge technology,” said Ives.

As part of its focus on the marine-energy sector, DCNS is investing in four technologies: tidal energy, floating wind turbines, wave energy, and ocean thermal energy.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic