Tidal array off the coast of France will be world’s largest when complete in 2012.

A reader actually shared news about this project with me over 2 months ago, but due to the steady stream of so many interesting cleantech stories, other responsibilities, and the fact that the shared page was in French and I had to learn French first (ok, just used Google Translate), it took me a while to get to it. The project is a “gigantic” (for tidal power) project off the coast of Paimpol-Bréhat in Brittany, France. It is a project of Irish tidal technology specialist OpenHydro and the large French utility company EDF.

The project will eventually include four 2-MW tital turbines from OpenHydro. The turbines are being installed 35 meters (115 feet) deep. They are 22 meters (72 feet) high and weigh 850 tonnes.

When completed in 2012, the tidal power project will be able to power up to 4,000 homes. EDF started the project in 2004 and began work on it in 2008. Total cost? About 40 million euros ($55 million).

While this is the world’s first large-scale, grid-connected tidal energy farm, OpenHydro has projects in the US, Canada, France, Scotland and the UK’s Channel Islands.

OpenHydro won the Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Company of the Year award last month and was a winner of the 2011 Later Stage Awards announced today by the Global Cleantech Cluster Association.

Tidal power is, obviously, still a nascent industry. But its advantages, such as low environmental impact and it being “out of sight” (i.e. not in anyone’s backyard), make it a renewable energy source that can certainly grow in use in the coming decades. I think the main issues are are just bringing costs down and getting initial project like this up, proving its viability and utility.

Via: Clean Technica

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