Unlike Naval Group, which is disengaging from tidal energy due to lack of public support and sufficient commercial prospects, Sabella (Brest), for its part, is continuing to develop its technology and is planning to set up a factory in Brest.
In 2015, Sabella submerged and connected to the Ushant power grid its D10 turbine. Jean-François Daviau, CEO of the company, wants to “demonstrate and consolidate the reliability of its tidal power solutions in the niche markets that represent remote and unconnected island or coastal territories“, in order to avoid the use of electricity generation provided by the burning of fossil fuels.
To develop its tidal turbine, Sabella has invested €13 million and benefited from €6.5 million of public aid. It conducted two fundraisings in 2014 (€4.3 million) and in 2016 (€8 million).
Since its first submersion, the tidal turbine has been improved and has a power of 1 MW. In September, it will be submerged again in the Fromveur passage and connected to the island of Ushant for a 3-year operation. It should provide 15% of the energy needs of the island with its 800 inhabitants, compared to 5% in the first operation.
The goal is to submerge two more turbines by 2021 to cover 35 to 40% of electricity needs. Note that the Ushant, Sein and Molène islands benefit from a mixed energy programme (local energy loops, supported by the region). Sabella is simultaneously developing prospects and pre-projects both in France and abroad, in areas not connected to the electricity grid. For example, it entered into a partnership with an oil company in the Philippines in 2017.
Sources : Ouest-France – 02/08/2018, Lettre API – 12/09/2017 and 30/05/2018