Voith, RWE Innogy form ocean current venture

Voith Hydro and RWE Innogy announced February 20 the formation of Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies to develop ocean current power technologies and projects.

Voith Hydro is to hold 80 percent of the joint venture, while RWE Innogy will hold 20 percent. The German companies said investment in the venture would total 30 million euros (US$37.8 million) over the next few years.

“Our common goal is to make ocean current technology competitive as quickly as possible,” said Chief Executive Officer Hubert Lienhard of parent company Voith AG. “This is why the close partnership between project developer and plant operator is of special importance to us.”

RWE Innogy Chairman Fritz Vahrenholt said the continuous flow of ocean currents makes it possible to predict that form of renewable energy with maximum accuracy.

“As a result, the volume of electricity fed into the grid can be forecast much more precisely than that of any other renewable energy carrier,” Vahrenholt said. “It is therefore imperative that its potential is tapped.”

Voith Hydro has been working with ocean current technology since 2005, the year it acquired Wavegen of the United Kingdom, which is developing wave power technology. Voith Hydro plans to deploy a 110-kW ocean current prototype off the South Korean coast by the end of 2009, followed by further test plants in Europe.

Voith and Renetec of South Korea signed a memorandum of understanding with a Korean engineering firm in 2007 to advance what they called the world’s first tidal current power park, a 600-MW project off Wando County in Jeollanam-do Province. (HNN 10/8/07)

RWE Innogy also has been active in ocean energy. Its U.K. subsidiary, npower renewables, is to operate the 4-MW Siadar Wave Energy Project, on Lewis Island in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland, with Voith Hydro’s Wavegen. (HNN 1/26/09)

Npower renewables also plans to construct in 2012 the 10.5-MW Skerries tidal stream power project off the coast of Anglesey, North Wales, in the U.K., with tidal power developer Marine Current Turbines. (HNN 2/13/08)

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