Port of Cherbourg plans to be a hub for marine tidal energy development

February 7th, 2013 by Ports Normands Associés

In the first half of 2012, energy group EDF and multinational engineering company Alstom decided to locate their offshore-wind-turbine operations in Cherbourg.

Following this decision, Ports Normands Associés (PNA), in association with the local authorities of Basse-Normandie, have decided to develop the opportunities that other marine renewable energies offer including tidal power.

The port of Cherbourg is ideally located for constructing, maintaining and running future tidal-energy farms because of its close proximity to the Raz Blanchard (Alderney Race) with its strong tidal currents.

This expanse of water, one of the world’s largest such sites for tidal energy, could provide up to half of France’s overall tidal power, while also representing a significant energy source for Alderney in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

However, installing tidal-energy generators is only possible if the port of Cherbourg can be extended by 35 hectares, which will be a significant development for the port.

Aerial image of Cherbourg Harbour showing the location of the planned 35 hectare land reclamation to accommodate marine tidal industry development (click image to expand - image courtesy of V.Laisney, Ports Normands Associés)

With an estimated cost of €60 million, the development will take place on the reclaimed land to the east and the north of Terre Plein des Flamands and Terre Plein des Mielles, extending the port into the outer harbour in the process.

Marine renewable energy holds significant development opportunities for the port of Cherbourg, and for the maritime region of Basse-Normandie as a whole.

This is why PNA decided to involve the general public in the early stages of the project. The port authority engaged in public consultation between 19 October and 19 November 2012.

During the consultation process, the vast majority of participants expressed their support for the project, highlighting the fact that the plan represents an exciting opportunity for employment and economic development in the region.

Indeed, PNA’s proposed extension has the potential to create a large number of jobs.

Integrating the feedback from the consultation, PNA will make an updated and improved plan available to the public, after which further consultation will take place during a public hearing in the spring of 2013.

It is hoped that the development work will take place between 2014 and 2016.

The French government and the Alderney authorities face challenges in the implementation of their plan to harness ocean currents in order to produce energy.

PNA, however, is confident that the port of Cherbourg can establish itself as a major hub for marine renewable energy, following on from its recent success in securing contracts for offshore wind energy development.

The diversification and growth of the local (and regional) economy in renewable energy has begun.

Expansion plans currently pursued by PNA will underpin these developments well into the 2013 to 2016 period.

(please click on logo to go to the Ports Normandy Authority website)


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