US-based energy company Verdant Power has formed a joint venture with Irish company Belleville Duggan to develop tidal energy projects in Ireland and the United Kingdom - with the goal of eventually becoming ''one of the leading project developers in the clean-tech sector.''

One the key objectives of the new enterprise, known as Verdant Isles, is to develop tidal energy sites in the Republic - as well as elsewhere around the British Isles. It also plans to establish a manufacturing base in the region that 'will become part of a global supply chain for marine energy devices.' The joint undertaking will also carry out further research into the nature and extent of Ireland's 'accessible energy resources' - with an ultimate aim being to 'further propel Ireland as a leader in the deployment of tidal and marine renewable energy projects.'

It is difficult to deny that the Irish tidal energy sector has strong growth potential. Earlier studies by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) have already projected that the 'viable' tidal current energy resources that could be developed in Irish waters run to some 900 GWh per year. In Verdant's view, the development of 'just half' of this would equate to an investment of 'more than €150 million, plus the potential to create up to 250 Irish jobs in the resulting global supply chain.'

In a press release timed to coincide with the announcement, Trey Taylor, the co-founder of Verdant Power said that the establishment of Verdant Isles 'allows Verdant Power to develop opportunities in Ireland and the UK by partnering with a locally-based EPC renewable energy contractor and developer with whom the company has established a strong working relationship.'

By Andrew Williams