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Clean Power Tidal Power

Published on July 28th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

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France Plans Groundbreaking Tidal Power Experiment

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July 28th, 2008 by
 
Tidal Power

Coming on the heels of the inauguration of the world’s first commercial scale tidal power turbine, Electricite de France (EDF) has announced that it plans to build a pilot tidal turbine system. The plan calls for 3 to 6 turbines to be built with capacities between 4 and 6 MW by 2011.

The location of the site (off Paimpol in Brittany) was chosen due to the extremely strong currents in the area.

While the recently installed SeaGen tidal power system in Ireland was certainly revolutionary, the French plan is as well. France alone has 80% of the potential in Europe for generating electricity from tidal currents—enough to theoretically create 10 million MWh per year.

This is not France’s first tidal power endeavor; The Rance tidal power plant in Brittany was the world’s first electrical generating system powered by tidal energy. The plant, constructed in 1966, outputs about 68 MW of power per year. However, the Rance plant has had severe environmental consequences due to its placement in a fragile estuary.

Fortunately, the new plan will not have such issues—unlike the polluting barrage system used in older tidal plants, the EDF turbines are free-floating.

And the EDF plan has big implications—if all goes well with the pilot project, France hopes to make tidal power an integral industry in the country.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • missy

    i think if it will help our earth live for millions of years to come, we should do it :)

  • missy

    i think if it will help our earth live for millions of years to come, we should do it :)

  • Uncle B

    Funny, a whole site with no mention of U.S. endevors, are they really out of touch, or do they just lack potential?

  • Uncle B

    Funny, a whole site with no mention of U.S. endevors, are they really out of touch, or do they just lack potential?

  • Pingback: ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PICKS « The Conservation Report

  • Kevin

    4-6 MW by 2011? I can fart louder than that.

    This will light 40-60k 100W light bulbs. Avg nuke plant up to 2000MW.

  • Kevin

    4-6 MW by 2011? I can fart louder than that.

    This will light 40-60k 100W light bulbs. Avg nuke plant up to 2000MW.

  • larryhagedon

    I am all for it. We need a wide variety of competing technologies and this one is a great addition to the mix. They all add up.

    Larryhagedon

    AmericanFlexFuelExperience-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/AmericanFlexFuelExperience/

  • larryhagedon

    I am all for it. We need a wide variety of competing technologies and this one is a great addition to the mix. They all add up.

    Larryhagedon

    AmericanFlexFuelExperience-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/AmericanFlexFuelExperience/

  • David Anderson

    Also a post about this on EcoGeek today:

    http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1935/84/

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  • Jim Jones

    Wow that is cool. Good energy in tidal power!

    JT

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • Jim Jones

    Wow that is cool. Good energy in tidal power!

    JT

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • http://www.krazd.com John

    What effect does this have on the environment? It sounds like a great renewable source though.

  • http://www.krazd.com John

    What effect does this have on the environment? It sounds like a great renewable source though.

  • http://www.freshexcel.com Fresh Excel

    I am not totally convinced that this could work.

  • http://www.freshexcel.com Fresh Excel

    I am not totally convinced that this could work.

  • http://www.krazd.com Krazd

    It’s about time we harvest Earth’s ‘free’ energy.

  • http://www.krazd.com Krazd

    It’s about time we harvest Earth’s ‘free’ energy.

  • Pingback: France Plans Groundbreaking Tidal Power Experiment - The Environment Site Forums

  • Gustavion

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how this turns out. How does tidal power compare to wind power? I know that wind power is gaining a progressively large market share in the U.S. What is the future of tidal power over here?

    http://www.simplestop.net

  • Gustavion

    It’s going to be very interesting to see how this turns out. How does tidal power compare to wind power? I know that wind power is gaining a progressively large market share in the U.S. What is the future of tidal power over here?

    http://www.simplestop.net

  • Ariel Schwartz

    I believe they can – using shrouded tidal turbines, but the technology is still pretty new. More info on that in the turbine wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbine

  • John Wanoa

    Dear Ariel Schwartz

    I do admire Seagen braving the elements of the sea good on them and if France can do better with their Turbine Design then I cant wait to see it We would never know until stuck their foot into the water first and they did a pioneering job of it until it snapped In New Zealand we still have to go through the same process as Seagen did and France to get the big Horsepower out of the tide where Biggest Turbine is Best so by the time France gets its Turbines into the water we would have followed behind watching the flaws more widely accepted concept Our belief is that Tidal In-stream Energy does hold the key to future clean Bulk renewable energy according to the area width and depth of marine space capture of tons water force useable useful net energy harnessed by Large Blade HUB BEARING Area Turbines with SHORTER RADIUS but TALLER BLADES capture TONS PER SQAURE INCH OF BLADE AREA Ideally Tidal Energy real physical swept square area contact is best harnessed from variable pitch blades revolving around a vertical shaft where the turbines torque output tries to twist the Turbine off its axle if not for a Bridge frame absorbing the turbine and tidal force back thru large Diameter Bridge Piles driven up to 90meters below the Seabed

    The Kaipara Harbor New Zealand Tidal Electric Project has these characteristics avoid recent problems Seagen’s Tidal Turbine where they have a SMALLER HORIZONTAL SHAFT holding a SMALLER HUB and a LARGER DIAMETER BLADE poses bending from the SOLID HYDRAULIC WALL OF THICK WIDE COLUMN VOLUME OF WATER on the move NO GIVE NO COMPROMISE NO ADJUSTMENTS AND NO WARNING You either GET IT ALL or NOTHING AT ALL Windmills are designed to Flex in the wind with the wings of an Airplane THERE IS NO CHANCE FOR FLEXING IN THE TIDE ITS ALL SROCK SOLID CRACKING MATERIAL The thicker the bearing HUB the taller stubbier the BLADE the better is our best principle I don’t know what the French will use You can go to Google and type John Wanoa or Tidal Electric to see the Turbine concept I hope the French take a fancy to it and give a friendly call to us Who knows We are more than optimistic that it works well in our heads before it hits the water I wait with interest that Tidal Energy is the answer to large Power Energy Outputs in Giga-watts from IN-STREAM TIDAL DESIGN TURBINES

    Regards

    John Wanoa

    Auckland New Zealand

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    It’s really great that tidal power is going in the direction of turbines, rather than barrages that dam estuaries and harm the environment. I read that another problem with barrage systems is that they require locations with huge tidal ranges in order to affective, to such a degree that there were only 20 known potential sites worldwide. Do you know if turbine systems can operate effectively in locations with tidal ranges of a smaller magnitude?

    More energy solutions at http://www.brightfuture.us/new/energy.

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    It’s really great that tidal power is going in the direction of turbines, rather than barrages that dam estuaries and harm the environment. I read that another problem with barrage systems is that they require locations with huge tidal ranges in order to affective, to such a degree that there were only 20 known potential sites worldwide. Do you know if turbine systems can operate effectively in locations with tidal ranges of a smaller magnitude?

    More energy solutions at http://www.brightfuture.us/new/energy.

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