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Greenore jobs under threat as OpenHydro plans to cut up to 50 staff early next year

Greenore jobs under threat as OpenHydro plans to cut up to 50 staff early next year

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One of the biggest employers in north Louth is set to cut up to 50 jobs early next year.

According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, tidal energy firm OpenHydro, who have a base in Greenore, will axe staff in the first half of 2018 due to a refocusing of resources by its French semi-state owner Naval Energies.

OpenHydro, whose head office is in the IFSC in Dublin, currently employs 175 people across its various operations in Ireland, France and Canada with the majority of the job cuts expected here.

Separately the parent company Naval Energies is cutting 50 jobs at its other divisions, none of which are in Ireland.

“Our new strategy is to secure the development of the company, consolidate its growth and support the teams towards industrial leadership in tidal turbines, floating wind turbines and ocean thermal energy conversion,” it said in a statement.

“The company is now at a decisive crossroads in its development: it operates in an emerging market, which is still made up of uncertainties and numerous challenges – technological, industrial and financial – to be overcome.

“The marine renewable energy market is progressing more slowly than initially foreseen. This delay is also linked to a lack of visibility of the political will of certain states, including France.

“This new strategy aims to focus resources on the highest-priority projects in tidal turbines, floating wind turbines and ocean thermal energy conversion. It is expected that any reduction in head count will be evenly split between France and Ireland. This personnel reduction will take place over the first half of 2018.”

The firm’s priorities now are projects in Canada, France and Japan it said, while Indonesia could be an area of future commercial focus. Others were previously planned in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Earlier this year, Naval Energies said that along with fund Bpifrance, it was investing €100m in developing its three renewable energy technologies.

OpenHydro’s tidal turbine technology has been in development since 2006. Its company’s original founders were Dublin chartered accountants Brendan Gilmore and Donal O’Flynn, who are understood to retain a stake in the company. DCNS, the previous name for Naval Energies, acquired a controlling stake in the business in 2013.

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