Laurent Beauvais, President of the Basse-Normandie Region and Chairman of the Ports of Normandy Authority, and Patrick Boissier, Chairman and CEO of DCNS, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding at DCNS headquarters in Paris, in the presence of Jean-François Le Grand, President of the Manche Departmental Council and Bernard Cazeneuve, MP, Mayor of Cherbourg?Octeville and President of the Cherbourg Metropolitan Authority (Communauté Urbaine de Cherbourg). The deal allocates areas of the Port of Cherbourg as part of plans to develop tidal turbine operations conducted by DCNS and open a new plant that is expected to generate hundreds of new jobs.
The agreement is in line with the DCNS's Championship growth strategy and underscores the company's driving role in the creation of a French marine renewable energy industry, with particular emphasis on tidal turbine technology. Cherbourg is close to the Raz Blanchard, one of the world's most promising locations for tidal turbine installations, and is in an ideal position to benefit from this new activity.
Under the agreement, space will be reserved for DCNS on the Quai des Flamands, inside the Port of Cherbourg. An additional agreement will be drafted within a year to finalise financial arrangements and adjust the perimeter of the previously allocated areas. DCNS could then begin operations as early as 2014, setting up an industrial facility to fabricate, install and maintain the first tidal turbines to be installed in the Raz Blanchard.
In 2011, DCNS Group acquired 11% of OpenHydro, one of the leaders in the tidal energy market, and the two companies are already working together for the French electric utility EDF to develop a pilot farm of four tidal turbines at Paimpol-Bréhat. The first turbine underwent in situ testing last autumn. Starting in 2018, the partners plan to produce about 100 tidal turbines a year in Cherbourg. DCNS could also install turbines in the Race of Alderney, the British part of the Raz Blanchard, under an agreement signed in February 2012 with Alderney Renewable Energy (ARE) a tidal energy developer based in Alderney in the Channel Islands. That agreement covers a resource evaluation and possible tidal energy projects in Alderny's waters.
Laurent Beauvais, President of the Basse-Normandie Region, said: "Allocating several hectares of space to DCNS at the Port of Cherbourg is a clear sign that we support the development of a full-scale renewable energy industry in Basse-Normandie. The space will house a facility managed by DCNS to manufacture, assemble and maintain tidal turbines, and could employ several hundred people. All the local authorities ? the City of Cherbourg, the Manche Department and the Basse-Normandie Region ? have mobilised alongside the Ports of Normandy Authority, owner of the Ports of Caen-Ouistreham and Cherbourg, to provide a timely response to the needs of local industry.
Patrick Boissier, Chairman and CEO of DCNS, stated: "This agreement clearly shows that DCNS and the Basse-Normandie Local Public Authorities share the objective of locating an industrial facility in Cherbourg. We both want the new plant to be the first of its kind in Europe. Our expansion into the tidal energy market, where we intend to be a world leader, is one of the pillars of our Championship growth plan. With this new production facility, DCNS is helping to strengthen the local industrial fabric and promoting job creation in the Cherbourg area."
At the signing ceremony in Paris, Jean-François Le Grand, President of the Manche Departmental Council and Bernard Cazeneuve, MP, Mayor of Cherbourg?Octeville and President of the Cherbourg Metropolitan Authority (Communauté Urbaine de Cherbourg), presented DCNS with a co-signed letter of intent affirming their political support for this project and their commitment to making Cherbourg the leading location in Europe for tidal turbine design, production, maintenance and training.