Europe’s first marine turbine helps reduce Ouessant Island’s carbon footprint

(Eco Business, 15 Nov 2018) A marine turbine submerged 55 metres deep in the Fromveur passage, a strait off Western French coast known for its strong current, has produced 15% of the electricity needed by Ouessant Island since mid-October. EURACTIV France reports.

“Nobody has passed through Fromveur here without knowing fear”. According to the saying, Fromveur passage’s strong current is well known to sailors in Britanny’s Finistère département.

This location to the north of the Iroise sea, between Molène Island and Ouessant Island, was chosen as the site where Sabella’s D10 marine turbine would be submerged. In this passage, the speed of the current reaches 3 to 4 metres per second.

Submerged on 16 October 2018, the machine has started to generate electricity, somewhat reducing the small island’s quite heavy carbon footprint.

Currently, the majority of its electricity is produced by generators, which consume almost 2,000,000 litres of fuel a year. The isolated islands often produce higher than average carbon emissions and are more sensitive to price fluctuations.

“It’s a sustainable energy model where the predictability of the marine currents and the turbine resource has a major advantage: a secure, inexhaustible and economically highly competitive source,” said Jean François Daviau, CEO of Sabella.

Towards energy self-sufficiency

“In Ouessant, we will soon have to stick tide charts onto our washing machines,” joked Ouessant’s mayor Denis Palluel, who would like to free his island of fossil fuels. “We want to pave the way towards a complete energy transition in order to considerably de-carbonise the island, turning Ouessant into a showcase for French technologies.”

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Eco Business, 15 Nov 2018: Europe’s first marine turbine helps reduce Ouessant Island’s carbon footprint