GDF Suez is to build a 5.6MW tidal project featuring four turbines in the Alderney Race in France’s Manche region.

The project was selected for development following a Call for Expression of Interest for Pilot Tidal Power Farms published by ADEME 2. In a statement, GDF Suez says the decision ‘rewards the technical and environmental virtues of its project, which is the result of several years of research and consultation with area stakeholders’.

Construction of the farm is scheduled to begin in 2017, with an expected operational lifespan of 20 years. It will use the Oceade tidal stream turbine, built by Alstom, which has already been tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Scotland, and which has brought over 1GWh of electricity to date onto the electric grid.

The turbines will be connected to each other using an underwater electrical junction box, making it possible to power Cotentin with just one cable. This technology, developed by Alstom in association with GDF Suez in the scope of the Prismer project, won a previous CEI in Demonstrators and Technological Building Blocks.

The port of Cherbourg has been chosen as the future industrial base for hosting assembly and maintenance activities for the tidal farm, due to its geographic proximity and high-quality infrastructure.

GDF Suez said it is now also pursuing its tidal power studies in the Fromveur area (Finistère) and has proposed to ADEME the exploration of a specific route accounting for the insular specificities of the area and electrical supply issues for Ushant Island.