Vattenfall/Wavebob venture to commercialise wave energy

19 Oct 2009

The Swedish electricity company Vattenfall has announced a joint venture with Irish wave-energy company Wavebob aimed at commercialising the wave energy produced by the oceans around Ireland.

Together, the two companies have formed an Irish wave farm-development firm, Tonn Energy, which is among one of the first commercial wave power-development companies to be established in Ireland.

Work will now begin on the planning, installation, operation and maintenance of pre-commercial devices at the national wave-energy test site at Belmullet in Co Mayo.

Success there would enable Tonn Energy to consider future plans to achieve 250MW of generating capacity elsewhere around Ireland, which would represent half of the Government’s published targets for 2020.

According to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD, Ireland has unparalleled ocean resources.

“The participation of a major power utility like Vattenfall, together with the commitment of its Irish partners – which I applaud – in Ireland’s energy programme, marks a further step toward realising the considerable opportunities represented by our ocean wave-energy resource,” he said.

The Texas of Europe

“Our long-term goal is to halve the emissions per produced unit of energy by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and to be emission neutral by 2050,” said Göran Dandanell, director and head of business development for Vattenfall UK and Ireland.

“With its magnificent ocean-wave resource and commitment by the Government, Ireland has become a focal point for the development of commercial ocean-wave energy,” he added.

“We are responding to the massive opportunity that Ireland has,” said Harvey Appelbe, project director for Tonn Energy. “Because the country has such a vast natural energy resource, and as the technology becomes proven, and the government policy and supports take effect, Ireland really can be the ‘Texas of Europe’ exporting large quantities of green electricity.”

Vattenfall is one of Europe’s largest electrical utilities. It generated 160TWh of electricity in 2008 and reported consolidated sales of some €17 billion. The company has operations in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, UK and now Ireland, and employs 38,000 people.

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Photo: Tonn Energy is among one of the first commercial wave power-development companies to be established in Ireland.