EDF and OpenHydro Prepare to Install First Tidal Turbine in Brittany, France
French utility company EDF and tidal technology specialist OpenHydro have today announced that the project to deploy the first of four 16m tidal turbines off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat is now in the final stages of preparation.
On August 31, 2011 the first turbine assembled at DCNS’ shipyard in Brest was towed from the harbour to commence a series of commissioning tests at sea prior to installation.
This is the first stage of a project which in 2012 will create the world’s largest tidal array generating power onto the French grid. The turbines are supplied by the Irish company OpenHydro and each has the capacity to generate over 2MW of energy.
OpenHydro and its partner DCNS have now completed the assembly of the first turbine for the Paimpol-Bréhat project.
The assembly combines the turbine and the subsea base which holds the turbine in position on the seabed. DCNS have also supported the project by supplying components for the turbine and by providing the Brest facility as a base of operations.
The installation is performed using the custom designed installation barge, the ‘OpenHydro Triskell’.The barge was constructed in France by STX (Lorient) under supervision by DCNS.
Commenting on this latest development, James Ives, chief executive, OpenHydro, said: “We are delighted to be working with EDF on what is set to be the world’s first large-scale, grid-connected tidal energy farm and France’s first offshore tidal installation. EDF’s vision to develop this exciting project places France and EDF at the forefront of this new form of renewable energy generation.”
The turbine will now be towed to the deployment site off the island of Bréhat, near Paimpol in Côtes-d’Armor, where it will be deployed on the seabed at a depth of 35 meters. For two months the turbine and subsea base, which have a combined weight of 850 tonnes and a height of 22 metres, will be tested.
The objective of the test is to prepare for the implementation of the world’s largest tidal array which is scheduled for installation in 2012. The electrical output of the completed tidal farm will power 4,000 homes.
The Paimpol-Bréhat tidal farm project was initiated by EDF in 2004 and work began in 2008 with the support of local stakeholders. The project is unique in the world and carries a budget in the order of €40 million. The project confirms the pioneering role EDF is playing in the use of marine and renewable energy and the group’s commitment to sustainable development. Tidal power has the advantage of being invisible, with a low environmental impact and does not disturb other marine activities.
The project has the support of the Brittany region, of the French State and Europe, for a better knowledge of the marine environment and in respect of providing regional employment.