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Alstom, GDF Suez teaming up for tidal energy proposal

Alstom Tidal Turbine

Engineering company Alstom and French utility GDF Suez will work together in developing a proposal for a tidal energy research project in France, per an agreement signed in Paris earlier this week.

The research will be conducted at the Raz Blanchard wave energy farm, which is located near the port of Cherbourg in the Lower Normandy region.

According to Alstom, the companies will work together to "establish the various technical parameters to harness effectively the marine currents at the Raz Blanchard site", while also creating a "roadmap to maximize the positive socio-economic benefits of this new activity throughout the region and the country."

"This agreement is part of the strategy of GDF Suez to bring together all interests in a position to participate in the creation of a new French industrial sector," the utility said in a statement.

An agreement signed by Alstom and the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) would also allow the group to coordinate the assembly of the turbines, erection of foundations and all maintenance operations from Cherbourg as well, assuming the pair are awarded the Raz Blanchard pilot farm.

HydroWorld.com reported in January that PNA had increased the test site's size by 35 hectares, due in large part to Electricite de France (EDF) and Alstom moving their offshore wind turbine operations to Cherbourg in 2012.

The potential to test the two forms of marine power side-by-side make the site particularly attractive, Alstom Renewable president Jerome Pecresse said.

"Signing today with PNA to reserve spaces on the port of Cherbourg, we could thus be in a position to develop synergies with our two future offshore wind plants," Pecresse said.

Alstom recently announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with ScottishPower Renewables for a tidal power installation in the Sound of Islay. The company is also testing its tidal generating units at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

For more ocean, tidal and stream power news, visit here.

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