The Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA), which owns the ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg in north-western France, plans to expand the facilities at Cherbourg by 35 hectares, at a cost of €60 million. This expansion will facilitate the development of tidal-energy projects in the Raz Blanchard – one of the world’s largest sites for tidal power, due to the very strong currents in the area.
In the first half of 2012, energy group EDF and multinational engineering company Alstom decided to locate their offshore-wind-turbine operations in Cherbourg. Following this decision, PNA, in association with the local authorities of Basse-Normandie, is now seizing the opportunity that other renewable energies offer, particularly tidal power.
The port of Cherbourg is ideally located for constructing, maintaining and running future tidal-energy farms thanks to its close proximity to the Raz Blanchard, located in the English Channel, which is known for its very strong currents, hence its high potential for tidal power. This expanse of water – one of the world’s largest such sites for tidal power – could provide up to half of France’s overall tidal power, while also representing a significant energy source for Alderney, one of the Channel Islands.
However, installing tidal-energy generators is only possible if the port of Cherbourg can be extended by 35 hectares, a significant physical development for the port. At an estimated cost of €60 million, the development will take place on the reclaimed land to the east and the north of Terre Plein des Flamands and Terre Plein des Mielles, extending the port into the outer harbour in the process.
Marine renewable energy (MRE) holds significant prospects in terms of development for the port of Cherbourg, and for the maritime region of Basse-Normandie more generally. This is why PNA decided to involve the general public in the early stages of the project: the port authority engaged in public consultation between 19 October and 19 November 2012.
During the consultation process, the vast majority of participants expressed their support for the project, highlighting the fact that the plan represents an exciting opportunity for the region in terms of employment and economic development. Indeed, PNA’s proposed extension has the potential to create a large number of jobs.
Integrating the feedback from the consultation, PNA will make an updated and improved plan available to the public, after which further consultation will take place during a public hearing in the spring of 2013. The works are planned to take place between 2014 and 2016.
There is no doubt that the French government and the Alderney authorities face many challenges in the implementation of their plan to harness ocean currents in order to produce energy. PNA, however, is confident that the port of Cherbourg can establish itself as a major hub in MRE, also in the wake of its recent successes in securing contracts regarding wind-power development. The diversification and growth of the local (and regional) economy in this field have started, and expansion plans currently pursued by PNA will underpin these developments in a positive manner well into 2013-2016.
The ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg are owned and run by Ports Normands Associés, known in English as the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA). PNA’s head office is in Caen (Normandy), in north-western France.
For further information about MRE in relation to PNA, please go to: www.pna-emr.fr
For further information about PNA, please go to: www.pna-ports.fr
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Ms Katherine WOODS - Press Officer
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