Irish firm OpenHydro to develop tidal energy farm off Scotland
Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00
OpenHydro, the Irish tidal energy firm, and SSE Renewables have been awarded rights to develop a 200-megawatt tidal energy farm off the north of Scotland.
The two companies were granted the rights by the Crown Estate in the UK. It's the statutory body there that is run as a commercial entity to generate financial returns for the British Exchequer.
SSE Renewables is an arm of Scottish and Southern Energy, the British firm that now owns Airtricity. OpenHydro, established in 2004, develops turbine technology that's used to generate tidal power. Its investors include One51, the investment group led by Philip Lynch, while financier Brendan Gilmore is its chairman. The company has raised over €50m from investors since it was founded and has been seeking to raise an additional €30m.
SSE Renewables and OpenHydro now have permission to enter a statutory consenting process for their site in the Pentland Firth with security of access to the seabed. The Crown Estate owns the UK seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, and also controls over 55pc of the UK's foreshore.
A joint venture company formed by OpenHydro and SSE Renewables specifically for the latest Scottish venture will, over the next few years, complete surveys prior to lodging an application to deploy the tidal turbines.
"These waters have been described as the Saudi Arabia of marine power and the wave and tidal projects unveiled underline the rich natural resources of the waters off Scotland," said Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday.