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UK and France join for “major” tidal arrays projects

Agreements signed for two projects to create “significant” tidal power site in Europe

The UK-France projects will see arrays developed to harness tidal power
The UK-France projects will see arrays developed to harness tidal power

UK and French firms have joined together to develop two major tidal array projects. Channel Islands energy developer Tidal Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) has signed agreements for two major projects aimed at creating one of the most significant tidal power sites in Europe.

The first agreement is with French industrial group DCNS for the development of tidal arrays in Alderney’s waters. The second agreement is between ARE and its partner, Transmission Capital (TCL), and French grid operator RTE (Réseau de Transport d'Électricité) to work on the development of an electricity interconnector cable between France, Alderney and Britain. This interconnector, known as the FABLink, will enable the export of up to 4GW of tidal power from Alderney’s waters and a power trading link between countries.

Both agreements are supported by the governments of the UK and France. At a signing ceremony at the Anglo-French summit held today, the French industry minister Eric Besson and the UK energy secretary Edward Davey signed a declaration.

He said: “We are determined to promote the potential of marine energies. We welcome the plan for a tidal turbine farm off Alderney-Aurigny in the Channel Islands. The commercial agreements signed today between Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) / DCNS and ARE / Transmission Capital / Réseau de Transport d’Electricité are major steps towards the realisation of a significant new renewable energy project, which could rank among the largest tidal stream energy deployments worldwide. We believe this project could encourage the emergence of industrial cooperation between France and the UK, while opening up new international prospects.

We acknowledge the importance of developing new electricity interconnectors between our two countries in order to strengthen further the linking of our grids, improve the security of our energy supplies and facilitate the integration of intermittent energy sources.”

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Clark, CEO of ARE, added: “We are committed to developing tidal power in Alderney’s waters. We have already secured grid access for future power flows to the UK and France and today’s announcement marks significant progress towards creating one of the largest renewable energy projects in European coastal waters. We are delighted that the governments of Alderney, the United Kingdom and France are supporting this project.”