France: Dredging Completed at Cherbourg Port
The announcement of a call for expression of interest in a tidal-farm pilot project in the area, together with the agreements concluded by DCNS and Alstom with PNA, confirms the importance of Cherbourg in the MRE sector.
This was further enhanced by President François Hollande’s visit of Cherbourg on 30 September.
For Ports of Normandy Authority, regarding the work at Cherbourg, the stakes are twofold, sums up Laurent Beauvais, President of PNA (which is the port authority that runs and owns the ports of Cherbourg, Caen and Ouistreham, in North-Western France): “It is a matter of adhering to the commitments made to our partners Alstom and EMF with regard to [offshore] wind energy and, from now on, providing a credible response to new requests that emerge.”
A major ambition of PNA, as well as that of businesses based across the region, is to secure the future of marine renewable energies (MRE) in the area. PNA is positioning itself as a key player for all new industrial and logistical developments in the field of wind-and-tidal energy, with current projects that include the extension of the port of Cherbourg and the redevelopment of the outer-harbour in Ouistreham.
Convinced of its assets in MRE, a key industrial sector of the future, PNA has invested early to guarantee the availability of the land and the deployment of the infrastructure that are essential to attracting leading companies; local as well as regional authorities have made strong budgetary commitments in order to fund this strategic choice.
The €40 million extension of the Flamands quay (or Quai des Flamands) in Cherbourg will be a new tool for the effective handling of MRE-related operations. Cherbourg was chosen by EMF and Alstom as an MRE development site thanks to its privileged position at the heart of the French offshore-wind-energy market and its proximity to the wind farms being built off the South Coast of England.
The first phase of development works was launched in early 2013 and involved lengthening the Flamands quay by 320m to the south (including a 100m-long return quay) to provide a total length of 680m. This extension is intended to optimise the handling and frequent trans-shipment of heavy loads such as nacelles, masts or even foundations for offshore wind turbines. The extension of the quay will have a load-bearing capacity of 15 tonnes per square metre, i.e. two to three times that of conventional quays. This new berth will also make it possible to accommodate ships with a draught of up to 14m, enhancing the port’s capacity and its ability to cope with large vessels.
The first phase of maritime works – consisting of dredging, excavation and the construction of the provisional dyke – has now been completed. Construction of the quay wall is starting in October 2013 and completion of the work is anticipated for the end of 2014.
The second stage of this project is a €60 million extension of the harbour’s large-container yards, making new land available to enhance the attractiveness of the port of Cherbourg. With work due to start in 2014, the existing Flamands and Mielles ship yards will be extended by 96 acres to the North and East. The project is due for completion in 2016, at which point the port of Cherbourg will have almost 250 acres of land to dedicate to the MRE sector.
PNA’s MRE ambitions have also been boosted by a recent announcement made by President François Hollande, in which he declared his support for MRE development and confirmed the importance of a call for expressions of interest in a pilot project for a tidal farm in the area. The French president, together with an official delegation, visited the port of Cherbourg on 30 September 2013.
PNA and Ouest Normandie Energies Marines (ONEM), a regional development agency focusing on MRE, underlined the fact that the Basse-Normandie region is already primed to pursue various tidal-energy projects thanks to the work being carried out in Cherbourg. This has been further illustrated by the agreements signed between Alstom, shipbuilding and engineering group DCNS and PNA in this field.
Laurent Beauvais, President of PNA, comments, “We are delighted by the [French] government’s strong stance in favour of MRE development. The call for expressions of interest in the tidal-farm pilot project echoes the €100 million project that has seen the redevelopment of port infrastructure, particularly in the area around Cherbourg.”
The tidal-farm pilot project will test the performance and reliability of tidal-energy machines, enabling investors to gain the necessary information in order to support relevant commercial proposals. The tidal-energy pilot project will also be used to measure the effect of the wake between tidal turbines and, more generally, the environmental impact on the local area.
Press Release, November 11, 2013