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Bpifrance, partners make waves with €100m tidal move

A quartet comprising DCNS, the Bpifrance-supported SPI fund, Technip and BNP Paribas hopes to create a leading tidal developer both in France and abroad.

A group of four French companies have invested €100 million in a new tidal energy development company led by naval defence group DCNS.

SPI, a fund managed by investment bank Bpifrance, will take a 36 percent stake in DCNS Energies. DCNS will hold the majority of the new tidal developer, while engineering and construction firm Technip and BNP Paribas Développement will also take minority stakes.

They declined to disclose the size of the equity share but said all four contributed towards the €100 million initial equity investment.

The group plan to develop and commercialise marine-based renewables equipment including tidal turbines, ocean thermal energy conversion units and floating wind turbines for both the French and international markets.

According to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency, France has the largest marine energy capacity in Europe with approximately 240MW installed. It also launched a pilot floating wind auction last year, attracting interest from local firms as well as China’s CGN.

The DCNS Energies consortium said they intend to mature these technologies before producing them on a bigger scale in the near future. They envisage these technologies forming part of the 26 percent of renewable energy in France’s mix by 2020, stressing their lack of intermittency compared to wind and solar.