Brittany improves its Paimpol-Bréhat tidal test site

Source: press release, 29 September 2022

Immersion of the three-phase terminal that can be connected out of water
Immersion of the three-phase terminal that can be connected out of water (photo: EDF)

On the occasion of the ICOE (International Conference on Ocean Energy) and OEE (Ocean Energy Europe’s) trade fairs from 18 to 20 October in San Sebastian, Spain, Brittany is promoting the Paimpol-Bréhat tidal turbine test site. Thanks to the recent reconfiguration of the submarine link, the site now benefits from a three-phase alternating current connection, connectable out of the water.

Connected to the French power grid, the test site, which is part of the European TIGER (Tidal Stream Energy Industry Energise) project, the largest INTERREG project ever launched, will be part of the new Open-C Foundation. It will be created by the end of the year, and its aim is to federate and animate the five French marine energy test sites, one of which is also Breton: Sainte-Anne-du-Portzic (floating wind and wave energy test site).

The Paimpol-Bréhat tidal turbine test site is an exceptional site for testing and optimising full-scale tidal turbines in ocean conditions since it also has the major distinction of being connected to the national power grid.

With 10 years of experience, it covers 3.5 hectares, in the north-east of the island of Bréhat in Brittany. It is operated by EDF and SEENEOH Bretagne with the support of the Brittany Region and Ocean Power.

Connection to an operational three-phase AC power outlet
In mid-September, the reconfiguration work on the submarine link was carried out, still improving the attractiveness of the site for developers.

From now on, the tidal turbine demonstrators can be connected to a three-phase alternating current socket. Further improvement – the connection is now made using a terminal plug that can be connected out of the water, avoiding the underwater connection by divers.

This reconfiguration work was carried out as part of the European TIGER project under the sponsorship of the Brittany Region and EDF and with co-funding from the INTERREG Channel programme. The TIGER project aims to demonstrate that tidal energy is a mature industry, capable of achieving an accelerated cost reduction path. It is the largest project ever approved, not only by the France (Channel) England programme, but by any other Interreg programme.

From 2019 to 2021, the Grenoble-based company HydroQuest and its partner CMN (Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie) have successfully tested their 1-MW HydroQuest Ocean marine turbine on the Paimpol – Bréhat test site, validating in particular its power curve.

Breton companies at the heart of the project
Brittany is thus pursuing its commitment to tidal and wave energy. Its three test sites: Paimpol-Bréhat (tidal turbine test site), Sainte-Anne-du-Portzic (floating wind and wave energy test site) and Ria d’Etel (tidal turbine test site) and its pilot sites for wave energy prove it. It is also a whole ecosystem of companies positioned on the entire value chain of offshore wind and marine energies which participate in technological development.

In June, Bretagne Ocean Power that structures the industrial fabric of offshore wind and marine energies in Brittany, launched a directory of Breton companies specialising in marine renewable energies, listing 175 companies, with over 260 references.

Three of them will also be present at ICOE – OEE 2022:

  • UTiLSea is involved in the maintenance of the project. The company has developed a monitoring solution for submerged structures that allows substantial savings in inspections throughout the life of the structure. UTiLSea also develops positioning solutions, multi-constellation RTK reference stations and associated server and control software. Currently, more than twenty stations are deployed in Brittany.
  • DynamOcean, has been intervening within the framework of the TIGER project, carrying out an ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) survey. The company has about twenty references, in France and abroad.
  • Sabella is a designer and manufacturer of tidal turbines. The Breton company has been involved in the TIGER project, supplying tidal turbines.