The Paimpol-Bréhat pilot project aimed to pave the way for the pre-commercialisation of tidal farms from 2017. At the initial stage of the project a prototype version of the 0.5MW 16m diameter OpenHydro device was installed and tested in 2011. Following this successful prototype testing, in 2015 OpenHydro completed the design and manufacture of two turbines for a grid-connected demonstration project (2 x 2MW turbines, 16m diameter).
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 were lowered to the seabed using an innovative winch system equipped with hydraulic motors.
During 2016 OpenHydro developed and built a power conversion system as part of the turbine control centre (TCC), housed in a subsea pressure vessel enclosure and mounted on the subsea base. The TCC is a power electronics apparatus which performs the dual functions of controlling the turbine to achieve optimum power output and converting the electrical output of the turbine to grid compliant power (however, these devices were never grid connected in the end).
OpenHydro released video footage of the installation of the first device: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du7Jqscu3LE
Onshore Infrastructure: The substation that fed the electricity to the French grid is located close to the Arcouest Peninsula in Ploubazlanec.
Vessel Spread: Specifically designed catamaran barge (Triskell), a tug (Penfret) and a support boat.
The project was 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 for replacement of components that threatened the turbine’s resistance to corrosion. These turbines were never redeployed and the project was subsequently cancelled by EDF in 2018.
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
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.