Plans for Ireland’s first tidal energy farm under way

12 Jan 2011

Bord Gais Energy has become a shareholder in OpenHydro and will invest €1m in the company as part of a joint venture aimed at developing a utility scale tidal farm off the coast of Ireland.

Bord Gáis Energy will initially invest €1m in OpenHydro, whose business is the design and manufacture of marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams.

Bord Gáis has also agreed to invest a further €1m on achievement of certain milestones relating to the tidal farm development.

“We are delighted to have secured this investment from Bord Gáis Energy and to have established this exciting new joint venture focused on the development of Ireland’s first utility scale tidal farm,” James Ives, chief executive at OpenHydro, explained.

“The additional funds will be used to support OpenHydro’s continued expansion in turbine production and deployment capability. We very much look forward to working with Bord Gáis Energy as a key partner in the development of our business and in delivering tidal energy to Irish homes.”

Early mover advantage

OpenHydro has now raised €15.4m over the past 12 months from existing shareholders and new investors.

The company, which employs more than 50 people, 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.

Last year, The Crown Estate in the UK awarded licence rights to OpenHydro, in conjunction with SSE Renewables, to develop a major 200MW tidal farm in the Pentland Firth, off the northern coast of Scotland.

“This investment – and the formation of the joint venture to develop utility-scale tidal-generating capacity off the coast of Ireland – will support our ambition to achieve early mover advantage in tidal energy development in this country,” explained John Mullins, chief executive officer at Bord Gáis.

“We are delighted at the opportunity to work with OpenHydro, which is an industry leader in this technology, and to be at the forefront of the development of marine renewable,” Mullins said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years