On the 26th of July 2018, Naval Énergies—a subsidiary of the French company Naval Group, Europe’s leading naval defence contractor and a major actor of renewable marine energies—announced that it would stop investing in tidal turbines and would close its (recently opened) factory in Cherbourg. This decision was made following the French government’s recent announcements on tidal energy.
France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) only foresees the installation of 100-150MW by 2028, i.e. fifty 2MW turbines over the next ten years. The government explained that this technology is not yet ready for industrial development and still too unreliable for large-scale deployment. Naval Énergies was planning to create a pilot tidal energy project in partnership with EDF across the Alderney Race, home to one of Europe’s most powerful tidal currents, but its decision to give up mirrors those of Engie and General Electric in 2017. Only Sabella, a Breton company, is continuing to develop its activities in the sector—and is indeed still the only company whose tidal turbines actually fed electricity to the national grid.
The French government wishes to prioritize offshore wind power, both static and floating, even if few projects are being developed in this sector despite the promise of public investment.