French naval shipbuilder predicts turning point for tidal power

Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:54am EDT
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* Tidal current energy at the cusp of commercial stage

* Market worth potential 75 billion euros globally

* Traditional players like GE and DCNS branch out in tidal

* Start-ups like Sabella, Atlantis fight for market share

By Geert De Clercq

NANTES, France, June 23 (Reuters) - Tidal power is moving beyond the prototype stage for state-backed French naval shipbuilder DCNS, which is targeting a billion euros in sales from the technology in the next decade.

DCNS, which is 35 percent owned by defence group Thales and 64 percent by the French state, builds warships and submarines but aims to sell its first commercial tidal power system in four years and wants to get up to 25 percent of its sales from renewable marine energies by 2025.

The firm bought Ireland's OpenHydro, which generates power from turbines installed on the sea bed, in 2013 and is working on pilot projects in France, Canada, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It has installed two 16-metre tidal turbines in Paimpol-Brehat, Brittany, for utility EDF which will be connected to the grid this summer.

"We have reached a turning point in tidal turbines, we are entering the pre-industrial phase," DCNS head of energy and marine infrastructures Thierry Kalanquin told Reuters.   Continued...