France’s FloWatt sets the course for tidal energy growth

France’s FloWatt sets the course for tidal energy growth

Ocean Energy Europe has welcomed the recent announcement made by the French government, allocating a commendable sum of at least €65 million in funding along with dedicated revenue support for the revolutionary tidal energy pilot farm FloWatt.

The declaration, delivered by the Minister for the Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, marks a significant milestone for the tidal energy sector in France, setting an exemplary path for other EU Member States to follow suit. Notably, FloWatt is destined to become the world’s largest tidal farm, boasting an impressive number of turbines and an unmatched capacity, making it a true flagship project.

This crucial announcement underscores France’s confidence in tidal energy, recognizing its potential as both an industrial opportunity and a pivotal component of the energy transition. It comes at an opportune time, considering the growing momentum and investment in ocean energy in the United States and China. Furthermore, this development aligns with the broader objective of achieving Europe’s electricity supply security through increased indigenous production, highlighting the importance of such initiatives at the EU level.

Harvesting the rewards of ocean energy implementation

With the EU targeting 40GW of ocean energy by 2050, alongside the establishment of new goals for innovative renewables in the 2023 EU Renewable Energy Directive and the inclusion of ocean energy as a strategic net zero technology, there has been an encouraging surge in political support for the sector in recent years. It is now imperative that Member States translate this momentum into tangible action to realize the large-scale implementation of ocean energy and reap its benefits both domestically and internationally.

Expected to commence operations in 2026, France’s inaugural tidal pilot farm will effectively cater to the electricity needs of approximately 20,000 people for a period of 20 years. FloWatt represents a strategic collaboration among project developer Qair, technology developer HydroQuest and industrial partner Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN). Following a successful two-year test programme in Paimphol-Bréhat, the installation of seven 2.5MW turbines in one of the world’s most potent tidal sites, Normandy’s Raz Blanchard, is anticipated.

Rémi Gruet, CEO of Ocean Energy Europe, expressed his profound enthusiasm in response to this groundbreaking news, stating: “This is of huge significance: we have been waiting for revenue support for new pilot farms since they first were put in the water in 2016. Investors kept 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 total number of countries providing support for tidal energy revenues and installations to four, joining the ranks of the UK, China and Canada. Ocean Energy Europe urges other EU Member States to take heed of these developments if Europe is to safeguard its supply of indigenous, cost-effective electricity and avoid potential energy crises in the future.

Tidal power production is poised to surge in the near and distant future, driven by initiatives like the FloWatt energy pilot farm. (Image courtesy: Ocean Energy Europe)
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