The Réseau de transport d’électricité (RTE) – France’s national grid company – says that France has a tidal power capacity of 3-6 GW of electricity in theory.
With a huge dependence on nuclear power for their electricity, France is moving more and more towards cleaner and more sustainable models of energy creation. We also live in times when the old model of national power companies being primarily focused on their own country’s power needs is disappearing in favour of a free-for-all Europe-wide market.
The latest step in this regard was made last week when the French government announced that a programme for future investment would help to fund projects such as tidal power in order to reach promised targets of a 6GW capacity from all marine energy projects by 2020.
The French are world leaders in tidal power harnessing, having been doing it for over 30 years. But the first commercial tidal power project was set up in Strangford Lough recently. The French government say that commercial tidal power around France’s coast could begin as early as 2017.
North of the Normandy coastline and certain areas around the Breton coast are expected to be the main centres for this new development.
All new tidal projects are at the pilot phase at present but, depending on how much of the €1.1 billion fund they received, the next step could be sooner rather than later.