France: DCNS and OpenHydro Win Cleantech 2012 Prize

The Cleantech AFIC (French Private Equity Association) Club and consultants Ernst & Young presented DCNS and OpenHydro with their award for the best investment in an innovative start-up by a major corporate group.

This award is made in recognition of the success achieved by the DCNS/OpenHydro partnership in renewable energy development. The two companies have signed a strategic agreement to pool their expertise in the market to generate marine renewable energy from tidal streams. Under this agreement, DCNS acquired an 11% stake in OpenHydro in 2011.

OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate renewable energy from tidal streams. The company’s vision is to deploy farms of tidal turbines in the world’s oceans. For its part, DCNS aims to play a leading role in the global market for marine renewable energy.

The two companies established a strong working relationship in 2010, under which DCNS provided support to OpenHydro for the delivery of a major project for EDF. This project will see OpenHydro supply and install four large turbines off Paimpol-Bréhat on the Brittany coast to create the world’s first grid-connected tidal farm.

Frédéric Le Lidec, Director of DCNS Marine Renewable Energy Incubator, stated: “Our two companies share the same goal of ongoing major development in tidal stream energy. OpenHydro and DCNS have already conducted a feasibility study for the Raz Blanchard current off the Cotentin Peninsula, which offers exceptionally high potential for energy generation. We now plan to develop this resource industrially from a base in the Port of Cherbourg”.

Commenting on the agreement, Brendan Gilmore, Chairman, OpenHydro, said: “‘Since DCNS secured an equity investment in OpenHydro, the two companies have formed very strong relationships at both shareholder and operational level. DCNS have provided essential industrial support for our EDF project in Paimpol-Brehat and we look forward to working together on the development of commercial arrays in the future.’

DCNS is also exploring other marine renewable energy technologies, and is conducting feasibility studies into floating wind turbines, ocean thermal energy conversion and wave energy.

AFIC formed its Club Cleantech as a focus for its cleantech-committed members and to promote eco-industries in France and abroad. The Cleantech Award was introduced in conjunction with Ernst & Young to recognise and reward those companies and partnerships that lead by example in the development and dissemination of innovations in this sector.

Subsea World News Staff , February 20, 2012;  Image: OpenHydro