French Tidal Power Project Collaboration

Press Release
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Voith ROV: Photo credit Voith

GDF SUEZ sign collaboration agreement with 4 companies to develop the Raz Blanchard, Normandy pilot installation.

Marine current power allows the energy from tide movements to be exploited. This energy source has the advantages of long-term predictability and strong energy density, given that water is 830 times denser than air. Therefore, for an equivalent installed capacity, the rotor of a marine turbine only measures 18 meters in diameter whereas a wind turbine measures 50 m.

Marine current resources are very localized because they are situated where current speeds exceed 2 m/s (capes, straits, and narrows). In France, 80% of this potential is located in two zones: Raz Blanchard in Lower Normandy and the Passage du Fromveur in Brittany.

The group’s objective is to obtain approvals to install in 2016 a pilot plant of 3 to 6 turbines representing power of 3 to 12 MW. The plant is an indispensable first step to confirm the economic and technical viability of the technologies in order ultimately to build a larger industrial tidal power plant in the area.

The collaboration involves: GDF SUEZ, Cofely Endel, its subsidiary specialized in industrial maintenance, the hydro turbine equipment design company Voith Hydro, the French shipbuilder Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) and ACE 1. Its aim is to develop a pilot plant at Raz Blanchard as early as 2016.  The Voith Hydro-designed “HyTide” marine technology has been chosen to outfit all or part of this pilot plant.

During the summer of 2012, the group also embarked on a thorough offshore campaign at Raz Blanchard of measures enabling it to improve its knowledge of the site, in particular seabed characteristics, water depths and currents, and the makeup of marine sediments.


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