France's DCNS to set up tidal-turbine factory in Normandy

French naval defence giant DCNS has unveiled plans to set up an industrial facility in the Port of Cherbourg for the serial-manufacture of full-scale tidal power turbines, with expectations the base will be fabricating some 100 machines a year by 2018.

Under the agreement with the Ports of Normandy Authority, space will be marked out for DCNS on the Quai des Flamands.

A follow-on deal will be drafted “within a year” to cement financial arrangements and finalise the exact dimension of the “several hectare” facility, which is slated to start operation in 2014.

“We want the new plant to be the first of its kind in Europe,” says DCNS chief executive Patrick Boissier. “Our expansion into the tidal energy market, where we intend to be a world leader, is one of the pillars of our Championship growth plan [the company’s renewable energy sector business development].”

The company, which in 2011 took an 11% stake in tidal technology developer OpenHydro, is currently working with French utility EDF to develop a pilot farm of four of the Irish outfit’s “open centre” tidal turbines at Paimpol-Bréhat, off the coast of Brittany.

Last month, DCNS also signed a deal with Channel Islands developer Alderney Renewable Energy to explore the possibility of building a tidal power array in the Race of Alderney, the British part of the Raz Blanchard, considered one of continental Europe’s most promising locations for tidal turbine installations.