DCNS-owned tidal technology company OpenHydro and developer Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) have formed a joint venture (JV) to build a 300MW project off the UK Channel Island.
The Race Tidal JV aims to construct the industrial-scale array off the island, located off the northwest tip of France, by the end of the decade using 150 of OpenHydro’s 2MW open-centre turbines.
“We are very excited about this next phase in the development of tidal energy in Alderney waters,” states DCNS senior vice president Thierry Kalanquin.
“Our initial agreement with ARE which dates back to 2007 has been a strategic part of our site development business plan. [This] announcement represents another key milestone as we realise our goals to deliver commercial tidal energy projects.”
In 2008, ARE secured a 65-year license from the States of Alderney clearing the way for development of marine renewable energy projects in the island’s territorial waters.
"One of the first steps the JV will take will be confirmation of the site location, following completion of detailed site surveys,” adds a DCNS spokesperson. “At this point in time we cannot confirm water depth and tidal velocities at the project site.”
Fab Link, set up by ARE and Transmission Investment, is developing a UK-France interconnector for the project that will provide a link for tidal power generated in Alderney’s waters to be exported to European markets.
OpenHydro will supply the Race Tidal project out of DCNS’s Cherbourg, France, factory, being built for the serial-manufacture of full-scale tidal power turbines, with expectations of fabricating some 100 machines a year by 2018 for European markets.
Alderney is thought to have one of the world’s largest tidal energy resources, with expectations it could eventually flow power to 1.5 million homes.
ARE executive chairman Nick Horler says: “The economic development of Alderney’s tidal power projects will provide Europe with a new source of predictable, clean, renewable energy and improve the security of our energy supplies.
“The JV that we now have in place with OpenHydro is a critical piece in the jigsaw as we move to now make significant progress towards creating one of the largest renewable energy projects in European coastal waters.”