Irish Green energy firm Openhydro has installed one of the first tidal energy generators of its kind off the Canadian coast and is close to closing a €30 million fundraising round.
The company, backed by businessman Brendan Gilmore, One51 chief Philip Lynch and Canadian utility Emera, has installed one of its turbines in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, eastern Canada.
The turbine is generating one megawatt (MW) of power, enough to supply electricity to about 1,000 households.
Its customer for the electricity is Novia Scotia Power, a subsidiary of shareholder Emera.
The company says the turbine is the first commercial-scale tidal-power electricity generator.
Openhydro, which is based in Greenore, Co Louth, and has offices in Dublin, began raising €30 million, mainly from existing backers, in early October.
It is understood that it will complete the fundraising early next year.
Its raised €52 million in its last round, which valued the company at €140 million.
The money will be spent on moving the company from the development stage to a point where it is operating commercially, designing, manufacturing and selling turbines to utility companies.
It is currently working with French energy giant EDF, one of the dominant players in the European sector, on developing turbines larger than the one installed in Novia Scotia.
Openhydro and EDF are focusing on moving the technology to the point where they are generating electricity on the same scale as conventional generators such as coal-fired plants, which could be about 500MW or 600MW.
The Irish company’s technology is at a stage where the firm believes it can produce electricity at a rate of 1MW in return for €1.6 million in capital investment.
This means it can compete with wind, but it is far more predictable as the tides move every six hours.
The turbines sit on the seabed and the technology operates on the same principle as hydroelectric power: the water’s energy drives the turbine, which converts the energy into electricity using magnets and copper coils.