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Bord Gáis and OpenHydro Awarded Lease to Develop Ireland’s First Tidal Energy Farm

10.10.12

Bord Gáis and its Irish tidal energy partner, OpenHydro were today awarded exclusive rights to develop a 100MW tidal energy farm off Torr Head on the north coast of Antrim. The project, potentially the first of its kind in the island of Ireland, is expected to be completed by the year 2020.

The award was made by The Crown Estate to Tidal Ventures Ltd. (a joint venture between the two energy companies) as part of Northern Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan. Tidal Ventures Ltd, which was established in 2010 with the objective of developing tidal farms, was successful because of the experience of its parent companies in developing large-scale renewable energy projects and specialism in tidal engineering.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy, said: “This project is a milestone for the development of tidal resources on the island of Ireland and marks our ongoing commitment to renewable assets. Bord Gáis Energy brings an ability to manage large scale infrastructure projects such as Whitegate and our wind farm portfolio together with a track record of financing projects of this scale. This experience is complemented by OpenHydro’s tidal specific experience”.

James Ives, Chief Executive of OpenHydro, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the lease to develop what could the first tidal energy farm in the island of Ireland. Our company’s vision is to deploy arrays of tidal turbines under the world's oceans, silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment. The project will have the capacity to generate 100 MW of energy - enough to power over 75,000 homes in Northern Ireland. Our partnership with Bord Gáis Energy was a key factor in securing this award; combining OpenHydro’s proven technology with Bord Gáis Energy’s experience in delivering large scale infrastructure energy projects.”

Electricity produced by tidal energy is completely renewable since it relies on tides that are created by the gravitational effect of the sun and moon, which also makes it entirely predictable. OpenHydro’s tidal turbines are located on the seabed beneath the ocean surface and cannot be seen or heard.

For further information, please contact:

Christine Heffernan, Bord Gáis
087 050 5555

Note to editors:

About Bord Gáis

Bord Gáis is a major energy provider to homes and businesses though out the island of Ireland. A commercial semi-state company, it builds and operates one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world.  Bord Gáis Assets, the company’s assets division within Bord Gáis Energy, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of existing power generation assets which generate in excess of 683 MW of generation capability, as well as the development of new assets such as the company’s wind and tidal portfolio.

About OpenHydro

OpenHydro is an Irish tidal energy technology company whose business is the design and manufacture of marine turbines for generating renewable energy from tidal streams. The company’s vision is to deploy arrays of tidal turbines under the world's oceans, silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment. OpenHydro has achieved a number of industry firsts including being the first to deploy a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the first to connect to and generate electricity from tidal streams onto the UK National Grid and the first to successfully demonstrate a method of safely and economically deploying and recovering turbines directly on the seabed. The deployment and recovery method delivers a step change in the economics of tidal energy.

OpenHydro has a project portfolio spanning the USA, Canada, France, Ireland, Scotland and the UK’s Channel Islands with utility partners including EDF, Bord Gáis, SnoPUD, Emera and SSE Renewables. OpenHydro has won a number of awards for its innovations in the field of renewable energy technology. For further information please visit www.openhydro.com

About Tidal Ventures Ltd.

Tidal Ventures was established in December 2010 with the objective of developing tidal farms. The joint venture applied for a lease when the Crown Estate opened its leasing round in December 2011.