Ireland’s first tidal energy farm to be built off Antrim’s Torr Head

10 Oct 2012

An OpenHydro 16m tidal turbine before being deployed off the coast of Brittany, France, in 2011

Energy provider Bord Gáis and the Irish tidal energy technology company OpenHydro have been awarded a lease to develop what could be the island of Ireland’s first tidal energy farm, a 100MW development, off Torr Head in north Co Antrim. It’s expected that the tidal farm will be built by 2020.

The lease has been awarded to Tidal Ventures, a joint project between OpenHydro and Bord Gáis, by the Crown Estate, as part of Northern Ireland’s offshore renewable energy strategic action plan.

The two companies set up Tidal Ventures in 2010 with the aim of pioneering tidal farms.

James Ives, the chief executive of OpenHydro, said this project could be the first tidal energy farm for the island of Ireland.

“Our company’s vision is to deploy arrays of tidal turbines under the world’s oceans, silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment,” he said.

Ives said the tidal farm will have the capacity to generate 100MW of energy – enough to power more than 75,000 homes in Northern Ireland.

“Our partnership with Bord Gáis Energy was a key factor in securing this award, combining OpenHydro’s proven technology with Bord Gáis Energy’s experience in delivering large-scale infrastructure energy projects,” he added.

Bord Gáis Energy’s managing director Dave Kirwan said the project would mark a milestone for the development of tidal resources on the island of Ireland.

OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams. The company has a project portfolio spanning Ireland, the US, Canada, France, Scotland and the Channel Islands.

French utility giant EDF, for instance, is also tapping into OpenHydro’s tidal turbine expertise to build a 16m offshore tidal installation off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat, France. For the project OpenHydro is supplying the turbines, each of which has the capacity to generate over 2MW of energy.

OpenHydro tidal turbine

OpenHydro tidal turbine being deployed by EDF

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic