Alstom, GDF Suez selected for pilot Raz Blanchard tidal energy project

Alstom Tidal Turbine

Engineering company Alstom and French utility GDF Suez have been selected to equip a pilot tidal energy farm at Raz Blanchard, which is located near the port of Cherbourg in France's Lower Normandy region.

The announcement was made following the group's selection by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls based on analysis conducted by France's Agency for Environment and Energy Management, ADEME.

Alstom (FR: ALO) and GDF Suez announced their intent to bid for the project this past September, following a call for expressions of interest by the French government earlier the same month.

The award will see the partners install four of Alstom's 1.4 MW Oceade 18 tidal turbines, giving the pilot project a cumulative output capacity of about 5.6 MW. Alstom said construction will begin in 2017, and that the turbines have an expected life of 20 years.

"Through this project, Alstom technology will demonstrate its effectiveness, its optimized cost and maintainability," Alstom senior vice president Jacques Jamart said. "The return experiences on this pilot farm is a prerequisite for considering the subsequent transition to a commercial phase of larger scale."

An agreement signed by Alstom and the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) in 2012 will allow the group to coordinate the assembly of the turbines, erection of foundations and all maintenance operations from Cherbourg.

HydroWorld.com reported that Alstom had unveiled an updated version of its Oceade turbine in October, following research conducted with a 500 kW tidal stream turbine that was deployed at Scotland's European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) last year.

For more marine and hydrokinetics (MHK) news, visit here.

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