Promising Dublin tidal energy company OpenHydro is axing a big share of its staff

The business builds huge turbines that produce renewable energy.

By Paul O'Donoghue Reporter, Fora

UP TO 50 staff are to be cut at Irish renewable energy firm OpenHydro as its parent company looks to consolidate.

The Dublin-based company produces underwater turbines that harness tidal energy to create electricity. Last year it raised more than €47 million from its shareholders as it looked to commercialise its technology.

OpenHydro is owned by the French marine business the Naval Group. In a statement today, Naval Energies said that the marine renewable energy market is “progressing more slowly than initially foreseen”.

“This delay leads to focus our financial and human resources on the company’s highest-priority projects,” it said.

“This refocusing of our efforts on high-priority projects leads us to a streamlining of our personnel of circa 100 people.

“It is expected that any reduction in headcount will be evenly split between France and Ireland.”

As OpenHydro is the group’s only operation in Ireland, around 50 staff at the company are expected to lose their jobs. The Dublin-based operation employs around 175 people.

openhydro 1 cropped An OpenHydro turbine
Source: OpenHydro

Naval Energies said that the process of cutting jobs will take place over the first half of 2018.

Commercialisation

While the news comes as a blow to OpenHydro, Naval Energies did namecheck the Irish firm’s tidal turbine, which it said is the company’s “most advanced product”.

The Dublin company has been one of the few in Ireland that is seriously progressing renewable tidal energy.

Last year it deployed a pair of two-storey-high prototype tidal turbines in France, and it has also tested the technology in Canada and Scotland.

The prototypes were meant to be the first turbines in much larger schemes in both France and Canada as OpenHydro looked to scale up for commercial production.

As well as these projects, OpenHydro has also said that it plans to develop a huge tidal array in Northern Ireland that would have the potential to generate enough power for 70,000 homes.

The Dublin company’s technology has been in development since it was founded in 2006. Naval, which was formerly named DCNS, acquired a controlling stake in the business in 2013.

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