European Commission backs French tidal power installation

The European Commission has expressed its support of a tidal energy pilot plant to be located near Raz Blanchard, France, stating the 5.6 MW proposal is “in line with European Union state aid rules.”

Called the “Normandi Energi Pilote Hydrolien” — or NEPTHYD — the site is being developed by a subsidiary of French utility Engie, which will build and operate the array for a period of 20 years.

“It will be connected to the national power grid and serve as a demonstration plant to validate this developing technology,” the European Commission said in a statement.

The pilot plant will include four 1.4 MW turbines, with features expected to “significantly increase the performances of tidal farms” including rotating nacelles, variable pitch blades and submerged electronics.

The French government is reported to be paying for the project through a combination of direct grants and repayable advances, which will be reimbursed if the technology is proven successful. Each unit of energy will also be eligible to receive a feed-in tariff.

Raz Blanchard’s marine energy potential has been of interest for several years. HydroWorld.com reported in October 2013 that officials from Basse-Normandie met with representatives from Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in anticipation of development at Raz Blanchard and nearby Brittany.

HydroWorld.com also reported that Alstom and French utility GDF Suez had announced a proposal for tidal energy research at Raz Blanchard in September of that year.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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