OpenHydro in Global Cleantech Cluster Association finals

2 Nov 2011

In Brest is OpenHydro's latest 16m tidal turbine being placed onto OpenHydro's custom-designed installation barge, the 'OpenHydro Triskell,' as part of final preparations to deploy off the coast of Brittany, France, in early September 2011

Irish tidal energy company OpenHydro has made it to the final top 30 in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) awards, and is now one to watch as a rising clean-tech star globally.

OpenHydro made the announcement this morning that it has been chosen by the GCCA as a 2011 Later Stage Award Top 30 finalist.  

It’s a significant coup for the young company, which has been making huge strides in the global tidal energy space of late.

OpenHydro operates in the design and manufacture of marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams. The 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.

OpenHydro was nominated for the GCCA Later Stage Award by An tSlí Ghlas, The Green Way – Ireland’s clean-tech cluster.

OpenHydro’s business model, market position and potential (among other criteria) qualified it to be a GCCA Later Stage Award 2011 Global Top 30 Finalist, said the GCCA today.

Inclusion in the GCCA Global Top 30 also signifies that the company’s innovative approaches and technologies are gaining a foothold in the new global green economy, said OpenHydro this morning.

Game-changing clean-tech companies

“Narrowing down 185 nominations from clean-tech clusters all over the world down to 30 was a very competitive process,” said Ben Taube, chairman of the GCCA. “These top 30 finalists are the rising stars of the world’s clean-technology sector.”

“These companies, with their customers and revenue, are building significant green collar economies in the regions where they operate,” said Shawn Lesser, co-founder of the GCCA. “For the health of the planet, both economically and environmentally, we are committed to spotlighting these game-changing companies on the world stage.”

OpenHydro and the other 2011 Global Top 30 companies will be honoured at the GCCA’s Later Stage Award Dinner held in conjunction with the Dublin Cleantech Forum on 14 November 2011. Co-hosted by An tSlí Ghlas, the full-day executive event will feature CEO presentations and high-level discussions on the most critical topics for emerging clean-technology companies and investment opportunities.  

Engineers Ireland

In early October, OpenHydro won the Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Company of the Year title for its use of CPD to morph from being a start-up R&D firm to a major global player for pioneering marine turbines that generate renewable energy from tidal streams.

The company, which is based in Greenore, Co Louth, has already achieved an array of industry firsts, including being the first to deploy a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the first to connect to and generate electricity from tidal streams onto the UK national grid and the first to successfully demonstrate a method of safely and economically deploying and recovering turbines directly on the seabed.

The chosen 30

The GCCA Later Stage Award Global Top 30 Finalists were selected out of the 4,000 companies represented by the GCCA’s 30 member clusters, ranging from North America and Europe to Asia. Each cluster conducted internal evaluations to nominate up to 10 companies in 10 categories, including solar, wind, energy storage, green buildings, water and more. In total, these member clusters nominated 185 companies for the 2011 Later Stage Award.

The top 30 finalists were screened for investment grade through the Keystone Method, a data-driven business assessment and venture development tool developed by GCCA head judge Dr Peter Adriaens at The University of Michigan, and CleanTech Acceleration Partners.

People power

James Ives, CEO of OpenHydro, highlighted the contribution of all within the company in helping to achieve this significant recognition.

“The commitment from all employees at OpenHydro is exemplary – the determination, focus and expertise across the company are the drivers behind our success, together with the support and partnership of our customers and shareholders alike.”

The 2011 Later Stage Award is sponsored by Grant Thornton International.

A full list of all the GCCA Later Stage Award 2011 Global Top 30 Finalists can be found online.

OpenHydro – involved in world’s first large-scale, grid-connected tidal energy farm

Right now, OpenHydro is building the world’s first large-scale, grid-connected tidal energy farm with energy giant EDF off the north coast of France. Significantly, it is the first foray of France into the offshore tidal wind-farm marketplace.

OpenHydro turbine being towed to French coastline in September 2011

The OpenHydro tidal turbine is towed to the deployment site off the island of Bréhat,
near Paimpol in Côtes-d’Armor in September, where it was deployed on the seabed
at a depth of 35 metres. For two months the turbine and subsea base,
which have a combined weight of 850 tonnes and a height of 22 metres, will be tested

As reported on in September, French utility giant EDF is divining into the tidal energy expertise of Irish firm OpenHydro to create a 16m offshore tidal installation off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat, France. When installed in 2012, it will be the world’s largest tidal array, generating power for the French electricity grid.

The alliance between OpenHydro and EDF also signalled France’s first foray into offshore tidal installations.

The Brittany region, the French State and Europe are all supporting the project in order to achieve a better knowledge of the marine environment and also in respect of providing regional employment.

OpenHydro is supplying the turbines, each of which has the capacity to generate more than 2MW of energy.

OpenHydro and its partner DCNS – naval defence and green-energy player DCNS took an 8pc stake in OpenHydro in January 2011 – completed the assembly of the first turbine for the Paimpol-Bréhat project in early September.

“We are delighted to be working with EDF on what is set to be the world’s first large-scale, grid-connected tidal energy farm and France’s first offshore tidal installation. EDF’s vision to develop this exciting project places France and EDF at the forefront of this new form of renewable energy generation,” said Ives at the time.

OpenHydro received support from Ireland’s Ocean Energy Development Unit, which supported the turbine system design.

EDF Group itself is an electricity producer in Europe. It has mainly nuclear and hydraulic production facilities in France, where 95pc of its electricity output is apparently CO2-free.

Work of OpenHydro

OpenHydro’s deployment and recovery method delivers a step change in the economics of tidal energy, asserts the company.

OpenHydro has a project portfolio spanning the USA, Canada, France, Scotland and the UK’s Channel Islands with utility partners including EDF, Nova Scotia Power and SSE Renewables.

The Global Cleantech Cluster Association

The GCCA creates conduits for companies to harness the tremendous benefits of international clean-tech cluster collaboration in an efficient, affordable and structured way.  

Global Cleantech provides a gateway for established and emerging clean-tech companies to gain exposure to potential investors, new markets, influential networks, innovative technologies and best practices.  

Swisscleantech, the Finnish Cleantech Cluster, and Watershed Capital Group are the founders of GCCA.

The GCCA Later Stage Award is sponsored by Grant Thornton International.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic