Thursday, 12 April 2012

OpenHydro Site Visit in Greenore and NE Region Social Event in Carlingford

Last week John Power Director General and I travelled north of Dundalk to the villages of Greenore and Carlingford Co Louth to join a North East Region site visit and Social Evening. There we visited the manufacturing unit of OpenHydro which is Ireland's most promising Tidal Energy developer. We were met by the CEO of OpenHydro James Ivers and fellow Board Member and key adviser Professor Gerry Byrne of UCD and former President of Engineers Ireland.

OpenHydro are so enterprising in fact that they were chosen by Engineers Ireland as Overall CPD Company of the Year in 2011 because of the innovative quality of their training and development programmes for professional engineers.

North East Region site visit to OpenHydro manufacturing unit at Greenore Harbour
Tidal energy is part of our ocean resources which we should harvest together with our offshore wind and wave resources. This requires a highly multi-disciplinary integrated approach in terms of resource assessment, grid infrastructure, planning/environmental consents, regulatory regime, construction and marine deployment.

This challenge has been addressed on a national basis by the recently published Irish Scottish Links Energy Study (ISLES) Report by the Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish Governments. It is shown that these offshore ocean resources represent a unique export opportunity from Ireland to England and Wales in particular to help meet energy demand when many of their existing power stations including nuclear plants require replacement. This replacement is now likely to be delayed following how the events in Fukushima Japan in early 2010 are impacting on Europe especially Germany.

OpenHydro have developed an open rotating turbine up to 16 metres in diameter and are currently testing it in French waters off Brittany in collaboration with French company EDF. This will become the world's largest tidal energy farm when fully developed. In the sea environment there are huge challenges in terms of depth and environmental conditions. These conditions test the most robust of engineering materials in terms of stresses, corrosion and overall longevity.

Greenore Harbour is ideally placed as a technical centre for OpenHydro in a sheltered coastal area reasonably adjacent to the M1 motorway equidistant between Dublin and Belfast.  OpenHydro are employing local Irish engineers in Greenore and their headquarters in Dublin who are leading projects currently in Ireland, UK, France, the US and Canada.

King John's Castle in Carlingford at Night
The North East Region Social Evening was organised by the Region Chairperson Maura Daly of Meath County Council in the Carlingford Arms in the village of Carlingford not far from Greenore. I hadn’t been in Carlingford before. As you approach the coastal village from the south a stunning vista of mountains, seascape, harbour walls, boats, windsurfers and medieval castles appear above the small village itself. The village nestles between Slieve Foy, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains and is a medieval heritage village due to the Norman Castles and buildings that straddle its narrow streets. Carlingford also lies on the historic Cooley Peninsula of Táin Bó Cúailnge fame. The village is dotted with boutiques, pubs and restaurants which were all full on the night of our visit on a cold March night! What must this place be like on a sunny Sunday afternoon!

Maura Daly Chairperson North East Region, PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland
John Quinn and John Power Director General of Engineers Ireland
The Social Evening was a great success thanks to the efforts of Maura Daly, Vicki Chadwick and Fiona Beers. Highlight of the event was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North East Region to its longstanding Chairman and Vice Chairman John Quinn. John was presented with an Award Certificate and a Cavan Crystal lamp by myself, Maura Daly and John Power. 

No comments:

Post a Comment