EDF to Develop Tidal Power

Electricite de France (EDF) announced that it plans to build a pilot tidal turbine system off the coast of Brittany in Northwest France. By 2011, between three and six turbines with a total capacity of between 4 and 6 megawatts (MW), will be installed. The turbines will be linked to the grid off Paimpol on the Cotes d’Armor, which boasts some of the strongest ocean currents in Europe.

The pilot scheme will enable the technology to be tested under real-world conditions, thus allowing its profitability to be assessed and an administrative and legal framework that will lead to the development of a network in France to be drawn up.

The development follows more than four years of consultation and preparatory work along the coasts of Brittany and Normandy. The choice of the site was based on technical and financial criteria. According to a statement from EDF, France and the UK have 80% of the tidal energy generating potential in Europe, or approximately 10 million megawatt-hours of electricity annually.

“This tidal turbine project is a response to the work done at the French Environment Forum,” said Pierre Gadonneix, EDF’s chairman and managing director.