Naval Energies (former DCNS) and its subsidiary OpenHydro officially opened their tidal turbine plant in Cherbourg today, June 14, conveniently timing the inauguration as the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) taking place in Cherbourg marks its closing day.
The ribbon on the new tidal turbine plant was cut by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
The construction of the 5500 m² facility, named Francis Beaufort after an Irish hydrographer and officer in the Royal Navy, officially started after the first stone was laid in July 2017.
The new plant will initially be able to produce 25 tidal turbines annually and has been designed to be modular and could be extended to increase its production capacity in view of future commercial farms.
The facility will ensure the assembly and maintenance of the tidal turbines for the Normandie Hydro project, led by Naval Energies and its subsidiary OpenHydro in partnership with EDF Energies Nouvelles, followed by commercial arrays. It will also serve as an industrial base for other pre-commercial projects developed by Naval Energies.
This is said to be the first tidal turbine plant in the world, and its production capacity is expected to increase by up to 50 turbines per year should the planned expansion works be undertaken.
Laurent Schneider Maunoury, CEO of Naval Energies, said: “Today, Naval Energies is writing a new page in industrial history on the emerging market of tidal turbines. We have the capacity to build a tidal turbine of a diameter of 16 meters every two weeks. The priority for OpenHydro today is to ensure the success of the international demonstration projects and prepare the ramping up of the Normandie Hydro pilot project, in Raz Blanchard.
“Beyond that, we urgently need commercial visibility and hope for decisions from states, and in particular France, to launch a call for tenders for commercial farms.”