Tidal power specialists Atlantis Resources plans to dip its toes in French waters, after today announcing a new agreement with French marine engineering firm INNOSEA to prepare an industrial plan for expansion across the channel.
France has the second largest tidal power resource in Europe after the UK, and Atlantis has engaged INNOSEA to advise it on building a native supply chain there to kickstart the manufacture, assembly, distribution, and deployment of its turbines across the country.
Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius said the firm plans to install its first French arrays in tidal races such as Raz Blanchard in Normandy, drawing on its experience of building the Meygen array in Scotland, the world’s largest tidal power array.
“France is an exciting new market for commercial scale tidal power project development which is set for enormous growth over the next few years,” he said in a statement. “As a leading developer of tidal power projects, we want to be part of the success of the marine energy industry in France.”
Cornelius added that Altlantis plans to make “material progress” with its French expansion plans during 2017, with the first deployment of generating assets on the continent targeted for two years’ time.
Alongside strong potential for tidal array generation, France is also home to some of the world’s first tidal energy lagoons, on which designs for the proposed tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay in Wales have been modelled.
The Swansea project was backed by former energy minister Charles Hendry in his official review of lagoon technology earlier this year, and today Labour is set to formally throw its political weight behind the scheme.
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey will visit the site of the proposed lagoon in Swansea today, and is expected to declare it the “perfect project” for advancing the UK’s low-carbon industrial economy.
“This Lagoon will harness cutting edge technology, three quarters of the manufacturing jobs will be high skilled and it needs 100,000 tonnes of steel,” she will say. “The Tidal Lagoon Power Company should be applauded not just for their entrepreneurial spirit, but also their focus on British built components.”
Long-Bailey will urge the government to green light the scheme without delay. “The government has dithered long enough despite stating in the House of Commons that they would not drag their heels,” she will say. “Greg Clark, who is in Cardiff today, should ensure that the Welsh people get the prosperity they deserve, stop hesitating and get on with it.”
The government has insisted it is studying the findings of the Hendry Review in detail and will announce a decision on the Swansea Bay project in due course.