Ireland marine energy chief highlights role of Islay tidal turbine parc in EU’s West European seaboard

Simon De Pietro
Simon De Pietro

The head of one of Ireland’s biggest renewable energy companies – which has licences for two tidal marine energy parcs in Scotland – has highlighted the growing importance of the EU’s West European seaboard (WES) for future development.

Simon De Pietro, Chief Executive of DP Energy, is a key stakeholder in the design of the proposed new EU Investment Platform for marine renewables, which will have a very positive impact on the overall industry.

Based in County Cork, Republic of Ireland, DP Energy is currently developing 339MW of tidal projects along the coasts of Canada, Scotland and Ireland. It also operates four wind farms in Dumfries-shire, as well as utility-scale solar power in Ireland.

De Pietro said: “The developed world’s love affair with fossil-fuels is flickering out and the switch to renewables is inevitable.

“We need to create a renewable, reliable and sustainable source to which we can switch in the next few years and our coastline provides the answers with our strong tides and races, our consistent wind and capacity for wave energy.”

“With the renewables sector facing increased challenges as support mechanisms for investment are squeezed particularly in Ireland and the UK, the West European Seaboard is significant in terms of natural energy resources including tidal, wave and wind and should be in a position to help Ireland and the UK become more self-reliant.”

DP Energy, in addition to its work at EU level, has also been proactively supporting the industry through both project development and other technical activities – for example its recent investment in Scotrenewables Tidal Power (SRTP).

SRTP is a Scottish based tidal technology design and its first large-scale tidal device SR-2000-1 – which is the world’s largest tidal energy device with a rated capacity of 2MW – was recently fabricated at the Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast. The growth of this company will have major employment and growth potential for the development of the wider tidal energy sector.

De Pietro added: ““We secured a lease from the Crown Estate for the development of a 30MW project off the west coast of Islay in Scotland and then a further lease for a 100MW site off the coast of Antrim at Fair Head, both of these projects are now being developed in conjunction with Bluepower a joint venture between DEME and Nuhma.

“Since then we have added a 200MW site at Westray South in Orkney and two berths at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia.

“Our aim is the integration of these renewable energy technologies incorporating storage.

 “Our portfolio places us at the top of the international list of independent, technology neutral, tidal energy developers in the world.”

DP Energy Ltd and its development partner Bluepower (a Belgium company whose shareholders include the offshore contractor DEME, and utility Nuhma) propose to build one of the world’s first commercial scale tidal energy parks. 

The company’s Islay project is for a 30-MW tidal array, consisting of up to 30 tidal turbines in an area to the west of Portnahaven, Islay,

The tidal resource around this part of the Scottish coast is substantial with flows approaching 8-knots as the water from the Atlantic flows into and out of the northern part of the Irish Sea. This, combined with the flat sea bed across the site with water depths of between 35m and 50m, make it suitable for deployment of tidal turbines.

Other advantages of the site include the future development potential of up to 400MW with expansion to deeper water.

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