Alderney tidal-power project progresses

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A PIONEERING new manufacturing plant is being built in Cherbourg, where it is hoped that turbines for an Alderney-based tidal-power generator will be built.

Once operational, the array could generate enough electricity to power all of the Channel Islands.

Naval Energies, which is working in partnership with Alderney Renewable Energy, announced that it had begun work on the plant, which will support the $146 million Normandie Hydro project in the Alderney Race, a strait between the small Channel Island and the Normandy peninsula.

Normandie Hydro aims to place seven turbines, 16 metres in diameter, on the seabed in French waters that will connect to the country's power grid and have an output capacity of 14 megawatts.

ARE director Declan Gaudion said that if Normandie Hydro was successful, then it would encourage investors to get behind a much larger 150-turbine array in Alderney's waters, which his company are planning.

He added that the planned array, which would be connected to the proposed 'French-Alderney-Britain (FAB)' underwater cable, would generate enough power for 200,000 homes.

'The waters in the Alderney Race have very strong currents and its one of the top five places in world for potentially generating tidal energy,' he said.

'It could generate about £1 million a year for Alderney by leasing our seabed for the turbines.

'It would also drastically lower the cost of electricity in Alderney from about 36p per unit to 15p per unit, which is similar to what you have in Jersey. At the moment, we have a diesel plant and have to import oil, which is expensive and bad for the environment.'

Mr Gaudion added that his company would apply for planning permission to connect Alderney to the FAB cable later this year.

The Naval Energies plant in Cherbourg is the first of its kind and will manufacture hydroelectric turbines on an industrial scale. Previously, turbines have been built in shipyards rather than purpose-built factories. Last week more than 100 islanders protested against the laying of the FAB cable across Alderney.

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