Tocardo Sees River-Power Market Worth $1.4 Billion in 10 Years

Apr 16, 2014 1:02 am ET

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Tocardo International BV, a Dutch maker of turbines that generate power from water, said the market for installing its devices in rivers may be worth as much as 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in 10 years’ time.

“The advantages of river-turbine projects are you don’t need to build infrastructure, they’re easy to install and maintain and they can be easily connected to the local grid,” Hans van Breugel, general director of the Den Oever, Netherlands-based company, said in an e-mail. “Within a year you can start installing these projects, whereas hydropower projects can take 12 to 15 years.” The market is worth “several tens of millions” of euros now, he said.

Tocardo plans to exploit the growing market for clean electricity as countries worldwide strive to curb polluting greenhouse gas emissions, boost energy security and meet renewable-energy targets. Harnessing power from water is more predictable than sun and wind energy.

Tocardo is currently selling turbines to Asian customers and expects its next markets to be in South America, particularly Chile, Brazil and Argentina, he said. It’s currently looking for potential project sites and is working to establish partnerships with local developers that can help with permitting and financing, Van Breugel said.

“We need to find the right project developer and partners,” he said. “Partners with credibility, engineering and technical expertise, and who have a good standing in the community.” Tocardo already has agreements in place with Repsol SA and Climex BV, a unit of Rabobank Group.

The company, which has a testing facility in the Netherlands, has already supplied turbines for a river project in Nepal. Its facilities are typically 500 kilowatts to 1 megawatt and the technology already is cost-competitive with fossil fuels, Van Breugel said. Other targets for its technology include North America, Asia and the Himalayas.