Construction Starts on Largest Tidal Power Array

Construction of the world’s largest tidal array remains on course after the first of four 16 meter turbines set to be deployed off the French coast was towed out to sea for testing.

The OpenHydro-designed device will be put through its paces for two months in 35 meter deep water off the island of Bréhat, near Paimpol in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany.

Three more turbines will be added by 2012 to create France’s first offshore tidal installation and, according to project developers EDF, the world’s first grid-connected tidal energy farm.

The French utility initiated the €40m (£35m) Paimpol-Bréhat project in 2004, but work did not begin until 2008.

When complete, the 2MW array will supply enough electricity to the French grid to power 4,000 homes, Openhydro said in a statement.

In related news, Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) announced yesterday that its PowerBuoy device recently deployed off the coast of New Jersey successfully withstood the severe conditions experienced during Hurricane Irene.

The PowerBuoy emerged from the two-day storm undamaged and fully operational, having maintained a continuous supply of electricity to the Navy communications and radar system it powers through waves approaching 15 meters high.

“Despite encountering significant wave heights, the buoy continued to produce power and operated exactly as designed for extreme sea conditions,” said Charles Dunleavy, chief executive of OPT.

“On Monday morning, after the storm passed, our PowerBuoy was right on station where it had originally been deployed and was operating to the Navy’s specifications as it did prior to the storm.

“This achievement stands as an important testament to the skills and innovation of our engineering and operations teams.”

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