France has announced at least €65m (c.£55.5m) of funding, plus dedicated revenue support, for tidal energy pilot FloWatt.
Ocean Energy Europe says the move, announced by Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher, signals a “huge step forward” for the tidal energy sector in France.
The announcement represents the French government’s response to increased activity and investment in ocean energy in the US and China, and part of a broader push to secure Europe’s electricity supply with more indigenous production.
With an EU objective of 40 GW of ocean energy by 2050, a new target for innovative renewables in the 2023 EU Renewable Energy Directive, and the inclusion of ocean energy as a strategic net-zero technology, the past few years have seen an increase in political momentum.
This must now be translated into concrete action by Member States, says Ocean Energy Europe.
Flowatt will be the biggest tidal farm in the world, with the most turbines and largest capacity.
Due to start operating in 2026, the pilot farm is set to meet the electricity needs of 20,000 people for 20 years.
Building on a two-year test programme in Paimphol-Bréhat, the seven 2.5 MW turbines will be installed in one of the most powerful tidal sites in the world, Normandy’s Raz Blanchard.
Commenting on the development, Ocean Energy Europe CEO Rémi Gruet said: “This is of huge significance; we have been waiting for revenue support for new pilot farms since the first were put in the water in 2016.
“Investors keep knocking on the door, but the lack of market visibility – provided by targets and finance – kept pushing them away.
“This commitment by the French government brings the number of countries supporting tidal energy revenues and installations to three, after the UK and China.”
He added: “Other EU Member States need to take heed if Europe is to secure its supply of indigenous, low-cost electricity and avoid further energy crises.”
FloWatt is a strategic collaboration between project developer Qair, technology developer HydroQuest, and industrial partner Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN).
Image: Alex Mit/Shutterstock
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