GDF SUEZ wins pilot tidal farm in Alderney Race

GDF SUEZ has been selected by ADEME (French Agency for Environment and Energy Management) to construct a pilot tidal power farm in Alderney Race, a French tidal stream that represents 50% of the country’s potential, with currents that can reach up to 10 knots (approx. 19 km/h).

By Heba Hashem on Dec 12, 2014

Construction of the 5.6 MW tidal farm of four tidal turbines is scheduled to begin in 2017, with an expected operational lifespan of 20 years. GDF SUEZ will rely upon the studies it has conducted at the site since 2009, and on its proven tidal stream turbine technology, the Oceade. Built by Alstom, Oceade has been tested numerous times at the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland, and has brought over 1 GWh of electricity to date onto the electric grid.

The Group has chosen the port of Cherbourg as the future industrial base for hosting assembly and maintenance activities for the pilot tidal power farm, thanks to its geographic proximity and high-quality infrastructure. The four turbines of the pilot farm will be connected to each other using an underwater electrical junction box, making it possible to power Cotentin with just one cable.

GDF SUEZ is also pursuing its tidal power studies in the Fromveur area (Finistère) and has proposed to ADEME the exploration of a specific route accounting for the insular specificities of the area and electrical supply issues for Ushant Island.

The latest pilot project in Alderney Race, Manche region, follows two invitations to tender won this year by GDF SUEZ for offshore wind farms in Tréport and the Isles of Yeu and Noirmoutier, for total power of 1000 MW.