France selects ENGIE to build a pilot tidal power farm in the Alderney Race to the West of the Cherbourg peninsula. It’s a project that underlines the Group’s ambition to lead by example and set the benchmark for renewable marine energy in Europe.
So what is tidal power?
Tidal power is a form of pollution-free marine renewable energy generated from the natural movement and currents of the sea, producing no waste whatsoever.
It is generated by so-called hydrokinetic subsea turbines, which convert the energy of marine currents into electrical power, in the same way as wind turbines convert the energy of the wind.
Hydrokinetic power: a high-potential form of renewable energy
Linked to tidal cycles, marine currents offer the great advantage of being predictable, and can be exceptionally strong in certain locations. Unlike wind turbines, hydrokinetic turbines are able to generate high levels of energy predictably and constantly.
France has unique potential for hydrokinetic power generation, because it has the second-largest hydrokinetic energy reserves in Europe, after the UK. This potential is estimated at between 3 and 5 GW, which is equivalent to more than two EPR nuclear reactors.
Two locations are particularly promising: the Blanchard tidal race to the west of the Cotentin peninsula, and the Fromveur channel near the island of Ushant. Together, they represent 80% of France's marine current energy potential. This high potential is also associated with the nearby presence of major industrial ports (Cherbourg and Brest) and a well-established and respected industrial fabric.
Tidal pilot power plants are an essential stage in establishing the marine energy source known as hydrokinetics
The 2th of december 2014 the ENGIE project in the Alderney Race (Manche region) was selected as the winner of the Call for Expression of Interest (CEI) for “Pilot Tidal Power Farms” issued by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).
This pilot project in the Alderney Race would allow the Group to confirm the technical and financial viability of hydrokinetic energy and its potential for large-scale development.
The ENGIE ambition: to lead by example and set the benchmark for renewable marine energy
ENGIE has been evaluating opportunities for hydrokinetic energy development since 2009. The Group is also a bidder to build a second pilot hydrokinetic power plant in St. Vincent's Channel off the tip of the Finisterre in association with Quimper-based Sabella. Studies are currently underway to address the features specific to this strait and power supply problems on the island of Ushant.
Having seen its strong commitment to offshore wind power rewarded by the award of the Le Tréport zone and the two island zones of Yeu and Noirmoutier as part of the offshore wind power bidding round, this new bid reflects its ambition to become a benchmark player in marine renewable energy.
The goal of ENGIE is to expand its energy generating mix by playing a full part in France's energy transition policy, whilst basing its projects in the regions of France in order to contribute to developing a national industry that will benefit local economies.
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