Expansion of Cherbourg hydrokinetic energy testing site announced

Cherbourg

The Raz Blanchard tidal power test site near Cherbourg will receive a 35 hectare expansion, thanks to a US$96.2 million plan unveiled by the Ports of Normandy Authority.

PNA, which owns the ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg in northwestern France, said the decision to increase Raz Blanchard's size came after Electricite de France (EDF) and Alstom moved their offshore wind turbine operations to Cherbourg in 2012.

Seeing an opportunity to make Raz Blanchard an all-around marine renewable energy site, PNA said the investment is necessary as tidal-energy generators could only be installed with an expansion to the Cherbourg port.

PNA said the development will use reclaimed land to port's east and north, extending the port into the outer harbor in the process.

The authority said it solicited public feedback throughout the past year, with the "vast majority of participants" expressing support for the project.

Another round of public hearings will take place this spring after an updated and improved scheme is completed. Work on the project is expected to be complete in 2016.

HydroWorld.com reported in March 2012 that PNA and naval technologies manufacturer DCNS had signed a memorandum of understanding that will allocate areas of the port for tidal turbine operations.

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