Marine energy tidal turbine plant in France will support Normandie Hydro project

Naval Energies, formerly DCNS Energies, announced today it has begun construction of a marine energy tidal-turbine plant in Cherbourg, France, intended to support the US$146 million Normandie Hydro project off of Alderney Island in the Alderney Race.

According to today’s announcement, the plant at Cherbourg “will ensure the assembly and maintenance of tidal turbines for the Normandie Hydro project.” Naval Energies said it intends the plant to annually produce about 25 turbines per year once it starts production, which it expects to begin in the first quarter of 2018.

Alderney Race, referred to by France as Raz Blanchard, is a strait that runs between Alderney Island and Cap de la Hague, a cape at the northwestern tip of France’s Cotentin peninsula.

Alderney Island, about 8 miles from the northwest tip of Cotentin peninsula, is an independent British Crown Protectorate and constituent of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It is governed by its own assembly, the States of Alderney and is neither part of the United Kingdom or a member of the European Union.

According to Alderney, it has the second largest tidal resource in Northwest Europe and independent estimates of the energy that could be harvested using current technology from tidal flows within the 3-nautical mile (nm) limit range from 1 GW to 3 GW. Alderney said it owns the seabed out to 3 nm from its baselines, covering over 90 nm2 of accessible tidal flow.

In July 2016, Hydroworld.com reported Raz Blanchard’s marine energy potential has been of interest for several years. In October 2013, officials from Basse-Normandie met with representatives from Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre in anticipation of development at Raz Blanchard and nearby Brittany.

In 2014, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), funded the Normandie Hydro project at Raz Blanchard. Project plans include installing seven tidal turbines to exploit 14 MW of marine energy via a tidal turbine farm during the course of 20 years.

According to ADEME, part of the project includes the following timeline:

  • Design phase (2015): finalized technical design and site development, on-going consultations, required planning consent and permitting process; 
  • Construction and installation phase (2016 – 2018): turbine construction and installation, interconnection with the terrestrial power grid; and 
  • Operation during a 20-year period: exploitation of the tidal farm.

Background

Naval Energies

According to Alderney Renewable Energy Ltd. (ARE), in 2011 ARE developed an agreement with DCNS to build the France – Alderney – Britain (FAB) Link. FAB Link is an electrical interconnector underwater and underground between France and Great Britain via Alderney Island.

DCNS Group, France’s state-owned naval defense and energy industrial group, and the Industrial Projects Co. in January 2016 announced the creation of DCNS Energies.

The last week of June 2017, DCNS Energies announced it was rebranding to, Naval Group. DCNS Energies also changed the name of its subsidiary dedicated to marine renewables to Naval Energies, according to Naval Energies.

Prior to its June rebranding, DCNS Energies was a continuation of research and development work carried out by the group since 2008, and the acquisition of OpenHydro in 2013.

According to ADEME, because of the future potential of commercial tidal farms in France and Europe, Normandie Hydro project-partners aim to create an assembly and maintenance hub in Normandy, France, expecting to create several hundreds of jobs.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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