France launches bid to become powerhouse of global tidal energy industry

The French government is putting its weight behind the development of a potentially global tidal energy industry being developed offshore of Brittany and Normandy.

The tides in northern France are among the most powerful in the world. Following a decade of R&D development, tidal energy technology is now ready to use this resource. Tidal farms will generate predictable renewable energy, while creating significant jobs opportunities and local economic activity.

Speaking at a meeting of renewable energy developers in Paris, Sébastien Lecornu, France’s environment minister announced preliminary studies to the launch of a tidal energy tender

 The announcement is an important first step and strong message to the sector. A tender for tidal energy will see France become the global centre of tidal energy manufacturing.

If this tender is a successful as the French government hopes, it will pose a strong challenge to the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre, especially when Scotland leaves the EU-bloc as part of Brexit.

Rémi Gruet, chief executive of Ocean Energy Europe – which is holding its international conference this year in Edinburgh – welcomed the announcement and called for the launch of a tender for tidal energy as soon as possible.

He said: “The stage is set for France to become the powerhouse of a global tidal energy industry. It has one of the most powerful tidal resources in the world; it has world-leading tidal technology, and it has an existing offshore supply-chain ready for action.

“A tender for tidal energy will see the first manufacturing plants come to France, creating a strong domestic industry, with significant export opportunities globally.

“The French Government has clearly recognised this opportunity and it will be up to the sector to demonstrate the readiness of the technology and the progress achieved in the first pilot farms.”

12 Feb 2018

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