Cork firm becomes Europe's largest tidal power developer

A Cork-based firm is set to become Europe’s largest independent developer of tidal power.

DP Energy is to take on the development of the Westray South project in Orkney, Scotland, after UK electricity firm SSE Renewables transferred the lease for the scheme.

The project has the potential to install up to 200MW of tidal turbines over two phases.

Up to £200m will be needed for the first phase and will generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes, saving an estimated 56,0000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Westray South site is next to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) tidal test facility in Orkney, and its relatively sheltered location and moderate water depths make it a promising early development site.

Simon De Pietro, managing director of DP Energy, says the transfer places the company firmly at the top of the marine energy development sector.

Mr De Pietro said: "This is a very significant development for DP Energy and is a further expression of our confidence in tidal energy generation as a key component in the portfolio of reliable, predictable and emissions free power sources needed to take us into a more self-sustainable future."

He and his mother Maureen established the firm originally as an early stage wind development company.

He said: "The approach we take is technology neutral and based on the fact that the site and project comes first and that technology is simply a means of achieving cost competitiveness and driving down the cost of energy.

"This ensures projects are buildable in the future as the least cost solution develops and as the industry matures and ensures potential competition in the market. Despite remaining technology-neutral, DPME is partnering on a project specific basis with credible OEMs and with demonstrated and competent technologies."

The acquisition increases DP Energy’s overall portfolio of tidal energy projects to 330MW making the company the largest such independent developer in Europe, with a number of other projects in the pipeline.

The firm is one of Europe’s longest established onshore wind farm development specialists and has created a specialised subsidiary, DP Marine Energy (DPME) to develop utility grade and large megawatt capacity ocean energy projects in key markets worldwide.

DP Energy has produced some 215MW onshore built projects. Projects generating 117MW are now with consents.

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