GE Delivers Sophisticated Electrical Conversion System For One Of The World’s First Tidal Arrays

    2015 is turning out to be an exciting year for tidal energy as one of the world’s first tidal arrays near Paimpol-Bréhat, France, will be deployed.

    All eyes in the energy world are turned to the small French fishing town of Ploubazlanec in Brittany, where development of the tidal demonstrator farm kicked off under the leadership of Electricité de France S.A. (EDF). GE Power Conversion has been in partnership with EDF since the very beginning and is now on track for finalization of the electrical conversion system, due for summer 2015. GE’s Belfort team is working diligently to perform relevant tests before installing the system both subsea and onshore.

    Two OpenHydro 16-metre turbines will be connected to a common subsea converter that will transform the current to high voltage direct current (HVDC) to provide 1MW of electricity. The power will be transmitted to the onshore station and eventually feed into the electrical grid. GE Power Conversion is undertaking development of the subsea converter as well as the onshore station.

    The turbine comprises four key components: a horizontal axis rotor, a direct-drive permanent magnet generator, a hydrodynamic duct and a subsea gravity base foundation. Simplicity is a key advantage of the device, with no lubricants, seals or gearbox, resulting in reduced maintenance requirements.

    The turbines with the converter are placed directly onto the seabed, deep enough so as not to pose a hazard to shipping.