Thursday 22 March 2018

Tidal energy firm OpenHydro to cut up to 50 staff

OpenHydro chief executive Patrick Gougeon
OpenHydro chief executive Patrick Gougeon
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

UP TO 50 jobs at tidal energy firm OpenHydro are to go in the first half of next year due to a refocusing of resources by its French semi-state owner Naval Energies.

It is expected that the majority of the jobs impacted will be here, where it has its Dublin headquarters in the IFSC and a technical facility in Greenore Co Louth, the company said.

OpenHydro currently employs up to 175 people across its various operations in Ireland, France and Canada, including up to 40 contractors.

Separately the parent company Naval Energies is cutting 50 jobs at its other divisions, none of which are in Ireland.

"Our new strategy is to secure the development of the company, consolidate its growth and support the teams towards industrial leadership in tidal turbines, floating wind turbines and ocean thermal energy conversion," it said in a statement.

"The company is now at a decisive crossroads in its development: it operates in an emerging market, which is still made up of uncertainties and numerous challenges - technological, industrial and financial - to be overcome.

"The marine renewable energy market is progressing more slowly than initially foreseen. This delay is also linked to a lack of visibility of the political will of certain states, including France.

"This new strategy aims to focus resources on the highest-priority projects in tidal turbines, floating wind turbines and ocean thermal energy conversion. It is expected that any reduction in head count will be evenly split between France and Ireland. This personnel reduction will take place over the first half of 2018."

OpenHydro also has an office in France, and is building an assembly facility in Cherbourg. It appointed Patrick Gougeon as CEO in January this year.

The firm's priorities now are projects in Canada, France and Japan it said, while Indonesia could be an area of future commercial focus. Others were previously planned in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Earlier this year, Naval Energies said that along with fund Bpifrance, it was investing €100m in developing its three renewable energy technologies.

OpenHydro's tidal turbine technology has been in development since 2006. Its company's original founders were Dublin chartered accountants Brendan Gilmore and Donal O'Flynn, who are understood to retain a stake in the company. DCNS, the previous name for Naval Energies, acquired a controlling stake in the business in 2013.

Irish Independent

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