HALIFAX, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - (TSX - EMA): Emera Inc. has invested (euro) 10.2 million (C$15 million) to acquire a 7.4% interest in OpenHydro Group Limited, an Irish renewable tidal energy company. OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines for harnessing energy from tidal currents under the world's oceans - silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment.
"This is an exciting opportunity for Emera to invest in a company that is developing new technology for the growing world renewable energy market," said Emera CEO Chris Huskilson. "This investment is a manageable first step and part of Emera's Renewable Energy Strategy."
OpenHydro has developed a unique Open-Centre Turbine technology that is environmentally friendly. Its commercial scale test turbine is operating at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland.
Nova Scotia Power, an Emera Inc. company, selected OpenHydro's Open-Centre Turbine technology in 2007 for deployment in a tidal energy demonstration project in the Bay of Fundy. The Province of Nova Scotia recently announced that the technology proposed by Nova Scotia Power and OpenHydro is among those that will be tested in the Bay of Fundy starting in 2009. The Nova Scotia Power-OpenHydro demonstration project has been approved for funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada that provides funding to emerging clean technologies.
Emera will hold one seat on OpenHydro's seven member Board of Directors. "We are very pleased to have Emera join our team," said Brendan Gilmore, Chairman, OpenHydro Group Limited. "Their operational knowledge and expertise complement our existing skill set very well. Together, we can build on OpenHydro's future program for tidal farms, silently and invisibly generating renewable energy under the world's oceans."
Emera will finance the acquisition from its balance sheet. The transaction closed today, February 20, 2008
Forward Looking Information
This news release contains forward-looking information. Actual future results may differ materially. Additional financial and operational information is filed electronically with various securities commissions in Canada through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR).
About Emera Inc.
(EMA-TSX) is an energy and services company with $4.0 billion in assets. Electricity is Emera's core business. The company has two wholly-owned regulated electric utility subsidiaries, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Company, which together serve 590,000 customers. Emera also owns 19% of St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited, which serves more than 50,000 customers on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. In addition to its electric utility investments, Emera has a joint venture interest in Bear Swamp, a 600 megawatt pumped storage hydro-electric facility in northern Massachusetts; a 12.9% interest in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline; and Emera Energy Services which manages energy assets on behalf of third parties. Visit Emera on the web at www.emera.com.
About OpenHydro Group Limited:
OpenHydro was formed in 2004 following the acquisition of the world technology rights to the Open-Centre Turbine.
OpenHydro's technology is based on the unique Open-Centre Turbine that converts the movement of water directly into electricity. Advantages of generating electricity using this technology include:
- The electricity produced is completely renewable since it relies on tidal currents that are created by the gravitational effect of the sun and moon on the world's oceans. - Whereas other forms of renewable energy are dependent on the weather conditions that day (e.g., the amount of wind or a clear sky), tidal energy is completely predictable giving the electricity produced a premium value. - Since the turbines are located beneath the surface, they are protected from storm damage and cannot be seen or heard. The design is considered to have no impact on marine mammals since it has no oils which can leak, no exposed blade tips and a significant opening at its centre. - Due to the density of water, a relatively small turbine can produce the same power as a much larger wind turbine.
Alderney Renewable Energy chose OpenHydro to install an array of Open-Centre Turbines on the sea bed around Alderney, which has some of the strongest tidal flows in the world.