An Irish company has become the first tidal energy generators in the UK to supply electricity to the National Grid.
OpenHydro’s turbines convert tidal energy directly to electricity. They tout it as the most efficient of the renewable sources as, unlike solar panels or wind turbines, it does not rely on weather conditions. Also, the turbines are under water so cannot be seen or heard and are, the company say, completely safe for wildlife.
Power was supplied to the grid for the first time in late May under the supervision of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) who has guided OpenHydro for the past 18 months. It is from EMEC’s base off Orkney, Scotland, that the company generates energy through its 250kW turbine.
James Ives, chief executive of OpenHydro, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this major milestone, which is the product of a tremendous effort put in by our dedicated and talented team. We look further to installing further turbines at EMEC and other significant tidal sites globally.”
The company is currently manufacturing 1MW turbines at its production facility in County Louth, Ireland, having secured €50 million in funding since 2005. The new turbines will be installed in Aldernay and the Bay of Fundy.