Thetis Energy case study: Belfast Telegraph energy supplement

Thetis Energy was formed in 2008 to develop a tidal energy project in Northern Ireland.  Three companies operated as a consortium to form the company.  Statkraft is a Norwegian state-owned company that develops the renewable energy sector and is Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy.  Deepblue Renewables is a Galway-based specialist marine energy company. 

The third founding partner was B9 Energy Offshore Developments Ltd, which bought out the other two companies earlier this year.  Thetis Energy now operates as a subsidiary of the B9 group.

B9 operates globally and has several subsidiaries.  Another of these is B9 Energy Operations and Maintenance Ltd, which operates, maintains and manages 543 wind turbines in 38 wind farms internationally – including several in Northern Ireland. 

Thetis aims to establish a commercially viable marine tidal stream project off the North Antrim coast, at Torr Head.  (Torr Head is next to Ballycastle, looking out over Rathlin Island.)  The tidal power would produce 100 to 200 MW of electricity, predicts the company. 

No specific tidal technology has yet been chosen, but Thetis is confident the project can place Northern Ireland at the forefront of tidal energy production.  This would move it away from dependence on fossil fuels and imported energy sources.  Research by Thetis suggests that with only 2% of energy use coming from local sources and European Union setting energy targets for the UK to generate 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, tidal and other renewable sources are essential to fill the gap. 

Thetis intends to submit detailed proposals for a tidal energy scheme to the Crown Estate and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for leasing approval.  If accepted, Thetis believes the scheme would generate around 5% of Northern Ireland’s total electricity demand.


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