At the initial stage of the project a prototype version of the 0.5MW 16m diameter OpenHydro device was installed and operated at the site during winter 2013/2014. Following this successful prototype testing two OpenHydro turbines with an improved design and each with a capacity of 0.5 MW were installed at the site in the first half of 2016. The pilot project is expected to pave the way for the pre-commercialisation of tidal farms from 2017.
The first turbine was installed on the 20th of January 2016 and the second turbine was installed on the 29th of May 2016. The turbines were installed using a dedicated barge designed by DCNS/OpenHydro. Once the barge was stabilized, the turbines are lowered to the seabed using an innovative winch system equipped with hydraulic motors.
OpenHydro released video footage of the installation of the first device: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du7Jqscu3LE
The substation that feeds the electricity to the French grid is located close to the Arcouest Peninsula in Ploubazlanec.
Specifically designed catamaran barge (Triskell), a tug (Penfret) and a support boat.
The project is located 16km off the coast of Brittany, France in water depths of 35m.
In January 2017 it was reported that the two turbines would need to be removed to replace a faulty part which prevented the system from operating correctly. It was discovered that corrosion of bolts and fasteners was the cause of the problem.
The first and second turbines were retrieved in April and July 2017 respectively. DCNS/OpenHydro teams plan to replace the components that threaten the turbine’s resistance to corrosion, during the summer, with redeployment planned for the autumn of 2017.
Key environmental issues include those relevant to other tidal stream developments such as:
- Noise impacts during construction and operation
- Disturbance to benthic habitats
- Potential for collision with turbine blades (although unlikely to be as much of an issue for this project due to the open-centre design of OpenHydro turbines)
Available information on baseline studies and post-installation monitoring is provided in the table below. There is a lack of information available on the full extent of the baseline surveys and proposed monitoring to be carried out at the site, however a significant amount of additional work (e.g. marine mammal surveys) would likely have been carried out, but these have not been detailed due to the lack of information on their design. When further information is available it will be updated.