France: Alstom Teams Up with GDF Suez for Blanchard Tidal Power Project
Alstom and GDF Suez will prepare a common project to respond to the call for expressions of interest for pilot tidal farms announced by the French President, François Hollande in Cherbourg.
Jérôme Pécresse, Alstom’s Renewable Power President and Gérard Mestrallet, CEO of GDF Suez, signed a cooperation agreement concerning this, in the Lower Normandy Region in France.
As part of this cooperation, Alstom and GDF Suez will establish the various technical parameters to harness effectively the marine currents at the raz Blanchard site, where the pilot farms will be installed, near the port of Cherbourg coast. The partners will also propose an operation and maintenance strategy for the pilot farm, as well as a roadmap to maximise the positive socio-economic benefits of this new activity throughout the region and the country. This is an important step to support the development of larger commercial farms.
Alstom is successfully testing its 1 MW tidal turbine under EMEC1 waters, off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The turbine has reached the full nominal power of 1 MW, generating over 10 MWh of electricity on the grid. Trials performed in pilot farms will test the performance of the turbine under real operating conditions.
Alstom will also sign an agreement today with Ports Normands Associés (PNA) which could allow the Group to perform the final assembly of the turbines, the erection of the foundations and all maintenance operations from Cherbourg, if it is awarded the raz Blanchard pilot farms. The port offers many benefits, including, in particular, a development plan covering 40 hectares for infrastructure devoted to tidal power, as well as the proximity of the raz Blanchard site and the British coastline, which represents a substantial potential market.
“Signing this agreement will bolster the port’s’ development strategy in marine energy” said Laurent Beauvais, Chairman of the Lower Normandy Region, and of the Council of the Mixed Ports Association of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg (PNA).
“We are pleased to team up with GDF Suez for the development of the raz Blanchard tidal power pilot farm. We will provide a reliable, environmentally-friendly and efficient technology which will help to deliver power at an optimal cost. Moreover, signing today an agreement with PNA to reserve spaces on the port of Cherbourg, we could thus be in a position to develop synergies with our two future offshore wind plants” declared Jérôme Pécresse, Alstom’s Renewable Power President.
Press release, September 30, 2013; Image: alstom