by Daniel J. Graeber
Brussels (UPI) Jul 27, 2016
The European Commission said it was moving in line behind a French plan to build a pilot project that would help convert power from tides into electricity.
French energy company ENGIE plans to build a tidal energy project on the western coast of the Cotentin peninsula in the English Channel. Characterizing the pilot project as having a "limitless" energy potential, the French company said it aims to install four tidal turbines with a total generating capacity of 5.6 megawatts.
The European Commission said there were no obstacles to competition laws with the French project.
"The measure will promote the production of electricity from renewable sources, in line with EU energy and climate goals, without unduly distorting competition," the commission said.
ENGIE said the region tapped for development has the strongest marine currents in Europe. The project, known by its French initials NEPTHYD, was billed as a job creator and a "steppingstone" toward determining whether or not energy projects like it are commercially viable at a potentially larger scale.
The French government said it would support the project through a direct grant. Once built, the tidal array would be connected with the national power grid and supported by a 20-year service agreement from ENGIE.
France is backing renewable energy projects through a bond program. The country aims to use renewable energy for 40 percent of its total electricity production by 2030.
ENGIE said the tidal project should be commissioned by 2018.
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