The first of two 500-kW OpenHydro tidal turbines has been successfully deployed at French utility EDF’s much-watched Paimpol-Bréhat tidal project, which is under construction in North Brittany, France. When completed—as anticipated before this summer—the tidal farm will be among the world’s first grid-connected tidal turbine arrays.

The project located about 16 kilometers out to sea and 35 meters deep will use the two turbines (Figure 3) designed by DCNS subsidiary OpenHydro to reap tidal energy and produce power. GE Power Conversion (GEPC) is developing a submerged converter (Figure 4) that will transport power produced by the turbines to an onshore substation (also developed by GEPC) on Arcouest Peninsula in Ploubazlanec.

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3. Titanic. The 16-meter-diameter OpenHydro turbine was towed out to sea on January 20 and deployed by the OpenHydro barge on EDF’s Paimpol-Bréhat tidal farm site in France. Courtesy: DCNS

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4. We all live in … Developers at GE Power Conversion (GEPC) have affectionately nicknamed this submerged converter “The Yellow Submarine.” The converter that will allow the Paimpol-Bréhat tidal farm to send power to an onshore substation consists of a steel housing 9 meters (m) long, 5 m wide, and 4 m high, and it encloses all the electro-technical equipment needed for electrical conversion. Courtesy: GEPC

The first OpenHydro turbine was reportedly placed onto the seabed in less than an hour using a dedicated barge designed by DCNS. Assembly of the second turbine continues at an industrial site in Brest.

The deployment marked a milestone for OpenHydro CEO James Ives, who said it was pivotal in “progressing towards commercial-scale arrays.” EDF and OpenHydro want to leverage expertise gained from this project to prepare for the Normandie Hydro project, which could see seven tidal turbines in the Alderney Race by 2018.

Sonal Patel, associate editor