Through this partnership, GDF SUEZ reaffirms its marine energy ambitions and it commitment, working with industrial companies with complementary expertise and local interests, to develop a pilot plant at Raz Blanchard as early as 2016.
Through this industrial partnership agreement GDF SUEZ and its partners will be able to combine their know-how and collaborate through the construction, assembly, and maintenance phases of the future Raz Blanchard pilot plant. The Group selected the Voith Hydro-designed “HyTide” marine technology to outfit all or part of this pilot plant.
The partnership is also made up of ACE and CMN, whose location at the port of Cherbourg is an advantage for carrying out these operations, which for the most part must be performed near the site of immersion of the marine turbines. Cofely Endel, also based at Cherbourg, will provide its industrial maintenance skills and technical project management expertise for this type of enterprise.
The aim of GDF SUEZ is to contribute to creating an industrial marine current sector in France and develop a project that respects the local environment. Therefore, the Group works with maritime and administrative authorities, not-for-profit organizations and fishermen to accommodate local economic activities and the particularities of the site. During the summer of 2012, the Group also embarked on a thorough offshore campaign at Raz Blanchard of measures enabling it to improve its knowledge of the site, in particular seabed characteristics, water depths and currents, and the makeup of marine sediments.
After the United Kingdom, France has the second largest tidal power potential in Europe2. As France’s premier tidal power site, Raz-Blanchard alone accounts for 50% of this potential and, with the Passage du Fromveur in Brittany, is one of two projects being carried out in France by GDF SUEZ. The Group’s objective is to obtain approvals to install in 2016 a pilot plant of 3 to 6 turbines representing power of 3 to 12 MW. The plant is an indispensable first step to confirm the economic and technical viability of the technologies in order ultimately to build a larger industrial tidal power plant in the area.
With nearly 10,000 MW of installed power capacity in France, of which nearly 50% in renewable energies, GDF SUEZ has made renewables one of its major areas of development. In particular, the Group is a leader in onshore wind power in France, with close to 1,200 MW in operation, and is the country’s second largest hydropower producer with 3,800 MW of installed capacity.
About marine current power
Marine current power allows the energy from tide movements to be exploited. This energy source has the advantages of long-term predictability and strong energy density, given that water is 830 times denser than air. Therefore, for an equivalent installed capacity, the rotor of a marine turbine only measures 18 meters in diameter where as a wind turbine measures 50.
Marine current resources are very localized because they are situated where current speeds exceed 2 m/s (capes, straits, and narrows). In France, 80% of this potential is located in two zones: Raz Blanchard in Lower Normandy and the Passage du Fromveur in Brittany.
The principle of marine current power is to capture the energy of currents and transform it into a source for electrical energy production.
• The force of the currents powers the blades.
• The rotor is linked to the blades and these drive it: it supplies mechanical energy from the force of the currents.
• The role of the generator is to transform mechanical energy into electrical energy.
1 50:50 joint venture between Cofely Endel and CMN.
2 Source: Ifremer.
About GDF SUEZ
GDF SUEZ (gdfsuez.com) develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, combating climate change and optimizing the use of resources. The Group provides highly efficient and innovative solutions to individuals, cities and businesses by relying on diversified gas-supply sources, flexible and low-emission power generation as well as unique expertise in four key sectors: liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency services, independent power production and environmental services. GDF SUEZ employs 218,900 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €90.7 billion in 2011. The Group is listed on the Brussels and Paris stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Stoxx 50, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe, ASPI Eurozone and ECPI Ethical Index EMU.
Investor Relations contact:
T: +33 (0)1 44 22 66 29 - E: ir[.]gdfsuez.com.