The French Government’s Ministry for Energy Transition has approved €65m ($71.22m) in funding along with dedicated revenue support for a new tidal energy pilot project.
Called FloWatt, the 17.5MW pilot project is being developed by HydroQuest, a tidal turbine technology developer, with support from Qair, a French-based independent power producer.
It aims to tap into the energy from marine currents and will be located at Raz-Blanchard in the English Channel. The French Government is supporting the project under its France 2030 programme.
Electricity generated from the project will be purchased at a preferential price. The aim is to consolidate the industrial sector for tidal turbines with the potential for export.
Trade body Ocean Energy Europe has hailed the project as indicative of the government’s trust in its technology, both for the industrial opportunity and for its role in the energy transition.
It is also claimed to be a response to an increase in activity and investment in ocean energy by the US and China. This is part of a broader push that needs to take place at the European level to secure electricity supply in the region.
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The pilot project will be made up of seven turbines, each with 2.5MW of generating capacity.
The turbines were designed by HydroQuest and built by the Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie shipyards in Cherbourg, Normandy.
The project will be commissioned by 2026 and will then operate for more than 20 years.
It will generate enough clean electricity to meet the requirements of 20,000 people.
FloWatt will draw on the experience of OceanQuest, a 1MW, two-year demonstration programme conducted in Paimphol-Bréhat.