Wednesday 13 December 2017

Irish renewable firm to test tidal energy device in Canada

Paul Melic, Ottawa

AN IRISH renewable energy company hopes to secure permission to test a tidal energy device in Canada, the Irish Independent has learned.

DP Energy said it hoped to secure permission to use a testing site in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, and will submit an application in the coming weeks.

And managing director Simon de Pietro told a major conference on marine energy that funding large-scale wave and tidal projects will be "difficult" until the technology is proven to work.

The Marine Renewables Canada annual conference in Ottawa heard that investors were reluctant to fund start-up companies because the fledgling technology has never been deployed on a commercial scale anywhere in the world.

Mr de Pietro, whose company has developed 11 wind farms in Ireland over the past 20 years and is also producing energy in Australia, Canada and Scotland, said investors wanted "credible" projects, because if they failed it made them "look bad".

"We need confidence and political support and investors want something that works," he said. It's very easy to fund an onshore wind farm because investors have confidence and understand the technology. I get regular emails from pension funds looking to invest in projects and that's where we need to go.

"We know what banks say -- put it in the water and when it's running we'll talk. Tidal (energy) is expensive and the technology unproven. It's challenging and difficult. There's not that many utility companies looking for projects and that's a difficulty."

Marine renewable energy involves four forms of technology -- wind, river, wave and tidal power. Floating wind turbines are one solution being explored, while tidal power involves turbines being driven by the tides which produce electricity.

For wave, ocean currents drive turbines which produce power or the currents pump pistons, which drive water through a turbine to generate electricity.

Chairman of Marine Renewables Canada, Doug Keefe, told its conference that collaboration was "key" to developing the industry, and it was inviting firms - including Irish companies -- to test devices in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.


Irish Independent

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