A round of government leasing for tidal pilot projects in France completed this week, with companies including GDF Suez, Alstom, and EDF among the big winners.
And the announcement of this round of tidal projects comes at the same time as France’s government promised another offshore wind leasing round some time in 2015.
A joint venture between GDF Suez and Alstom was awarded the go-ahead to build a pilot tidal stream project in France Tuesday, while a second group consisting of EDF, DCNS, and OpenHydro were also awarded a contract to install seven turbines of 2 MW each.
Both projects are set to be located in the Raz Blanchard, and are the result of a Call for Expressions of Interest announced back in September of 2013 as part of France’s Programme des Investissements d’Avenir.
“Thanks to this project, Alstom technology will be in a position to demonstrate its efficiency, its optimised costs and its maintainability, a necessary prerequisite to considering any future move towards a commercial phase on a larger scale,” said Jacques Jamart, Alstom Senior Vice-President in charge of new energies.
These latest approvals will give Alstom a chance to test its Oceade 18 1.4 MW tidal turbine under installation and operational conditions similar to those in commercial facilities.
A team of 80 Alstom engineers have been working on the Oceade turbine prototype, and this pilot farm in conjunction with GDF Suez represents a “decisive step towards setting up commercial operations in tidal energy.”
Meanwhile, these tidal contracts come a day after France announced that it would open up a new round of offshore wind tenders before next summer, with an aim to attract €350 million to the offshore wind energy sector.
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