DCNS, a leader in naval defence and an innovative player in energy, and OpenHydro, the Irish tidal renewable energy specialist, have signed a strategic agreement that will enable the companies to combine their marine engineering strengths in the tidal energy market. As part of the agreement, DCNS has acquired an 8% holding in OpenHydro for an investment of €14 million.
OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate renewable energy from tidal streams. The company’s vision is to deploy farms of tidal turbines under the world’s oceans. For its part, DCNS aims to play a leading role in marine renewable energy as part of its ‘championship’ strategic growth plan.
During the past year the two companies have forged a strong working relationship which includes DCNS providing support to OpenHydro for the delivery of its next major project for Electricite de France (EDF). This project will see OpenHydro supply and install four large turbines off the Paimpol-Brehat (Cotes d’Armor) coast in Brittany to create the world’s first grid-connected tidal farm.
“This is a very positive development for OpenHydro. DCNS has a tremendous heritage of working in the marine environment and is one of the world’s foremost marine engineering companies,” comments Brendan Gilmore, chairman of OpenHydro.
DCNS is exploring the entire spectrum of marine renewable energy technologies from floating offshore wind farms and marine turbines to ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and wave energy. Of these technologies, this opportunity with OpenHydro in tidal energy is one of the most mature. Marine turbines generate electricity silently, invisibly and at no cost to the environment. In partnership with others, DCNS plans to launch major tidal projects that are expected to lead to tomorrow’s full-scale industrial programmes.
The investment agreement is subject to approval from both the French government and OpenHydro shareholders.