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Irish to build E600m tidal power farm

Thursday, April 10 14:37:07

Irish tidal technology company OpenHydro has forged a joint venture with Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) to build a E600m tidal powered energy farm off the Channel Islands.

They plan to develop a 300MW tidal array in Alderney waters and have formed a joint venture company called Race Tidal Ltd.

The formal agreement took place at a signing event held at the Thetis Marine Renewable Energy conference in Cherbourg this week.

The island of Alderney is located in the Channel Islands and its territorial waters contain one of the world's largest tidal energy resources which once fully developed is estimated to power 1.5 million homes. Once completed, the array developed by OpenHydro and ARE is expected to consist of 150 turbines (2.0MW each) which will produce enough power for over 150,000 homes. Related to this, as announced previously, FAB Link Limited, a joint venture between ARE and Transmission Investment LLP is developing a power interconnector between France, Alderney and Britain. This link will enable the tidal power generated in Alderney's waters to be exported to European markets, as well as allowing energy to be traded between France and Britain. Development of the FAB project is progressing in conjunction with French Grid operator RTE.

ARE has a long established relationship with OpenHydro (OpenHydro holds a 31 per cent shareholding in ARE) with both companies bringing their complementary expertise to this project. In 2008, ARE secured a 65 year license from the States of Alderney permitting ARE to develop marine renewable energy projects in Alderney's waters. OpenHydro will provide the turbines which will be manufactured in Cherbourg (France) in an industrial site being developed in partnership with DCNS; this site will also support future tidal energy farms off the French coast.

Over the next three years, the partners will be working closely with The States of Alderney, the Alderney Commission for Renewable Energy, local communities and stakeholders to complete the required surveys and environmental impact assessments prior to making an application for full consent. The 300MW tidal array is expected to reach full scale deployment from 2020 which will coincide with the commissioning of the FAB interconnector.

Commenting on the joint venture announcement, Thierry Kalanquin, chairman of OpenHydro and DCNS Senior Vice President Energies and Marine Infrastructure, said: "We are very excited about this next phase in the development of tidal energy in Alderney waters. Our initial agreement with ARE which dates back to 2007 has been a strategic part of our site development business plan. Today's announcement represents another key milestone as we realise our goals to deliver commercial tidal energy projects. The joint venture that we have signed today with ARE will now ensure the development of a 300MW tidal array in Alderney waters."