Irish energy technology firm sells 7pc stake

22 Feb 2008

Canadian energy company Emera has bought a 7pc stake in Irish energy technology company OpenHydro.

OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams.

The core business of Emera, which has CD$4bn in assets, is electricity. The company has two wholly-owned, regulated electricity utility subsidiaries, Nova Scotia Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric Company, along with numerous other interests. Emera will hold a seat on OpenHydro’s board of directors.

“Emera joining our team, with its deep operational knowledge and expertise, complements our existing skill set in the renewable energy industry,” said Brendan Gilmore, chairman, OpenHydro Group. “Together we will deliver OpenHydro’s future programme for tidal farms, silently and invisibly generating renewable energy under the world’s oceans.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for Emera to invest in a company that is developing new technology for the growing world renewable energy market,” commented Chris Huskilson, CEO, Emera.

Last year, OpenHydro was selected by Nova Scotia Power to provide its
Open-Centre Turbine technology for a tidal energy demonstration project in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. Research has indicated that the Bay of Fundy has the potential to be one of the world’s best sites for generating tidal power.

The tidal energy demonstration project in the Bay of Fundy with Nova Scotia Power has been successful in securing funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

OpenHydro is the first and only company to have installed a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) test facility, off the island of Eday, Orkney.

The company’s turbines are being developed and assembled at its new facility in Greenore, Co Louth. OpenHydro intends to make further material investments at this facility over the next three years as it increases its design, engineering and assembly team.

OpenHydro has raised over €50m in funding since 2005 for the commercial development of its turbines.

By Niall Byrne