Naval Energies Shelves Tidal Energy Plans with OpenHydro in Liquidation

Naval Energies has decided to stop investing in the field of tidal turbines and to concentrate its efforts on floating wind turbines and ocean thermal energy conversion.

Following Naval Energies’ decision, its Dublin-based subsidiary OpenHydro has been put under provisional liquidation.

On 24 July, the company deployed a new tidal turbine in Canada and connected it to the power grid.

Naval Energies had also recently inaugurated the world’s first assembly plant for OpenHydro tidal turbines in Cherbourg.

Nevertheless, Naval Energies claims that the market for tidal-turbine energy is closing, and that the gap between the technology and the demand on the market, and the lack of commercial prospects over the long term, is forcing the company to bring its developments in tidal energy to an end.

Namely, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) only foresees 100 to 150 MW to be installed between now and 2028, i.e. 50 turbines of 2 MW each over ten years. The United Kingdom had also decided two years ago not to launch specific tenders, and tidal has now to compete with fixed bottom offshore wind. In Canada, there is also great sensitivity to the cost of the technology, Naval Energies explains.

Laurent Schneider-Maunoury, CEO of Naval Energies, said: “It is with regret, but also responsibility, that we are taking the decision to stop developing tidal-turbine energy. The deterioration of the market, in France and around the world throughout the recent months, has been reflected in a lack of commercial prospects over the long term. This evolution means that we alone can no longer finance the development of the tidal-turbine activity. In the current context, maintaining our investments would have led to consume the company’s resources and thus, ultimately, to weaken Naval Energies as a global actor in the Ocean Energy sector, as we still have two product lines. In the future, Naval Energies will focus its development on Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), which are receiving support from the public authorities.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, said: “The liquidation of OpenHydro is disappointing news, yet closures are part of pioneering and innovating in a brand new industrial sector, on the road to commercialisation.”

Neil Kermode, managing director of European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), stated: “EMEC is gutted to hear that Naval Energies have made the difficult decision to liquidate OpenHydro.

“OpenHydro were EMEC’s first tidal energy client, and are our longest standing client, having been operating at the Fall of Warness test site since 2007.

“This is the hard journey that all technologies have to travel. It is such a shame that OpenHydro are not going to make it.”

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