After a 12-month audit led by the European Investment Bank, the NEMO “New Energy for Martinique and Overseas” project for the development of an offshore pilot Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant in Martinique was awarded under the NER300 programme by the European Commission. On Tuesday 8 July, Akuo Energy, submitter of the project, received notification from the European NER300 fund that it had been awarded funding covering the first five years of operation of the plant. DCNS, industrial partner in the project, is the supplier of this innovative technology.
DCNS and Akuo Energy have been working for several years with Martinique Caribbean French island to define the options and conditions for the installation of a pilot Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant capable of supplying electricity for 35,000 homes.
Eric Scotto, Akuo Energy CEO, declared: “The success of the NEMO project is a source of pride for Martinique and all the French overseas regions. This decision on a European level consolidates the development of our group in insular tropical regions, on the most appropriate Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) technology for these specific areas”.
Frédéric Le Lidec, DCNS Senior VP Marine Renewable Energy Business Line, said: “The selection of this project by Europe prefigures the development of an OTEC industrial sector in which DCNS will be one of the main stakeholders. This technology will eventually benefit all overseas island territories, non- connected to continental power grid, and therefore help isolated areas achieving energy self- sufficiency”.
Together, DCNS and Akuo Energy are going to develop a 16 MW offshore OTEC plant which will be operational in four years. This floating platform anchored in the sea will use the temperature difference between the warm water at the surface and the cold water in the depths to produce non- intermittent and carbon-free electricity, without any uncertainty regarding the resource (access, availability and cost).
The Martinique regional council very early initiated a policy aiming to develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion on its territory. The island’s location in the Caribbean tropical belt makes it one of the most promising areas in the world for the exploitation of this constant renewable energy and the development of this environmentally friendly technology.
The NEMO project had been previously selected and supported by French authorities before successfully reaching all the stages of the European program NER300. The Akuo and DCNS project would not have been awarded without the support of French government, through the monitoring of the Directorate General for Energy and Climate (DGEC) and support of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and the Ministry of Economy, Relief Productive and Digital.
A decisive step towards the establishment of an OTEC industrial sector
Obtaining this European funding marks a decisive step in the development of OTEC in overseas island territories. It follows on logically from the work done by DCNS on this technology since 2008. After several Research and Development and feasibility studies in Reunion, Tahiti and Martinique, DCNS developed in 2011 an onshore OTEC prototype. This system, developed in cooperation with Reunion Region and University, is now established on the site of the Saint-Pierre University. The prototype has been used by the teams to work on the main electricity generation system and validate the heat exchangers technology. From this demonstrator in Reunion to the industrial project of pilot plant in Martinique, the overseas regions are at the heart of a strategy to ensure the commercial development of the OTEC technology.
Now, thanks to the NER300 funding, DCNS and Akuo Energy are going to validate the offshore OTEC plant principle and contribute to the development of a French industrial sector which will generate the creation of a significant number of jobs locally. Besides, it will contribute to meeting the growing energy needs of Martinique.
* The European NER 300 fund supports innovative commercial-scale MRE demonstrator projects.
Alix Donnelly, DCNS
+ 33 (0)188.8.131.52.57
+ 33 (0)184.108.40.206.69
Axelle Vuillermet, Akuo Energy
+ 33 (0)1 47 66 62 69
+ 33 (0)7 77 68 62 34