EDF to develop pilot tidal power project

PAIMPOL, FRANCE - French power group EDF said it will build three to six turbines along the northern coast of Brittany, in France, to produce electricity from the energy in tidal currents.

The pilot scheme, which EDF said is a world first, would be linked to the grid off the city of Paimpol, and have a total capacity of between 4 and 6 megawatts by 2011.

EDF - Europe's biggest nuclear power producer with 58 reactors in France that have a total nuclear generation capacity of more than 60,000 megawatts - declined to give financial details on the tidal power project.

Energy from tidal currents, which emits no greenhouse gases and has the advantage of being predictable, could become a key source of renewable energy, it said in a statement.

"In the long term this new source of energy could make a significant contribution to the production of electricity from renewable sources, in particular in the United Kingdom and France," EDF said in a statement.

EDF said that France alone had 80 percent of the potential for generating electricity from tidal currents in Europe, which it estimated at 10 million megawatt-hour per year.

Utilities and oil majors across Europe are seeking seek to develop cleaner energy sources as part of a drive by the European Union moves to cut carbon dioxide emissions by one fifth by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.


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