Paimpol-Brehat Tidal Farm is being constructed off the coast of Paimpol-Brehat in North Brittany, France. It is set to become the largest tidal array in the world once all its four turbines are operational. The power generated from the farm will be capable of serving 4,000 households.
The idea to build the facility was first brought up by Electricite de France (EDF) in 2004, after France formally banned coal mining. Construction work at the tidal farm began in 2008. Sea testing of the first turbine has been completed and construction of the other three turbines is in progress.
The cost of constructing the offshore tidal farm is estimated at €40m ($49m). The project is expected to provide employment opportunities for the neighbouring areas.
A turbine named L'Arcouest developed by OpenHydro was tested at the site from December 2013 to April 2014. Another pilot farm comprising of two tidal turbines at the same site was further announced in June 2014. OpenHydro will develop, install and test the two turbines in partnership with EDF from 2015. The pilot project is expected to pave way for the pre-commercialisation of tidal farms from 2016.
Development of the Paimpol-Brehat tidal energy farm
“The laying of the turbines underwater requires no drilling or excavation work.”
OpenHydro's turbines were selected for the Paimpol-Brehat tidal power project due to their low-cost and ease of installation with significantly less labour required. The laying of the turbines underwater requires no drilling or excavation work.
Each of the four turbines will measure 22m in height, 72ft in diameter and 850t in weight, inclusive of the foundation units. Each of the four turbines has a generating capacity of 2MW each and will be laid 35m deep into the seabed.
A specially designed barge named OpenHydro Triskell is used for the installation of the turbines.
The turbines will be laid on top of a three legged structure acting as the subsea base for the turbines. The subsea base for supporting the turbines will be laid 4.8m above the seabed.
Features of the North Brittany tidal power turbines
The turbines are specially designed with an opening in the middle, which is done to provide safety and easy access for fishes and other creatures in the sea. The project received support for construction from the Brittany region, the French Government and Europe for prioritising the safety of the marine environment.
The turbines laid in the sea will be out of sight from the surface, causing no visual impact. The noise generated by the turbines has also been kept in check and it will have very minimal effects.
The turbines have the capability of functioning without the use of oil, grease or other polluting lubricants.
Construction of the Paimpol-Brehat offshore power facility
“The turbines laid in the sea will be out of sight from the surface, causing no visual impact.”
The first turbine of Paimpol-Brehat Wind Farm, assembled at Port Brest was transported to the island of Brehat near Paimpol in August 2011 for sea testing. The turbine and the subsea base were installed using the barge OpenHydro Triskell.
The sea testing process went on for two months as part of the preparation to present the world's largest tidal array by 2012 and study its impacts on the marine environment. The turbine was lifted to the surface for examination after the testing process was completed.
Grid connection of the North Brittany tidal energy plant
The tidal farm will be connected to the French grid on completion, being the first large-scale tidal power project in the world to be connected to the grid. A new substation will be built to transfer the power from the tidal farm to the national grid.
Companies involved in the Paimpol-Brehat offshore development
With EDF acting as the developer of the project, the construction work is being carried out by OpenHydro Group. OpenHydro will develop and supply the turbines and the company will work with DCNS.
The barge used for the project was built by STX (Lorient) under the supervision of DCNS. DCNS is also responsible for assembling the turbines and subsea base for the tidal farm.
Converteam provided assistance during the testing of the first turbine.