GE’s Electrical Conversion System for Paimpol-Bréhat Project


GE Power Conversion is finalizing the electrical conversion system, a part of Paimpol-Bréhat tidal energy project,that will be deployed off France in summer 2015.

The development of the tidal demonstrator farm kicked off under the leadership of Electricité de France S.A. (EDF).

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 converter will be delivered to Brest and be installed by DCNS on the foundation designed by OpenHydro, which supports both the convertor and the 16-meter turbine, GE explained.

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.

GE’s MV3000 low voltage drive will enable the low voltage alternating current, generated by the Open-Centre Turbines to be transformed into HVDC. The electrical current will then be transported through the 16km subsea cable to the onshore station.

“Reliability is of the utmost importance in this project; once the equipment is installed on the seabed it has to run in full autonomy for a minimum of 5 years duration,” said Régis Baudet, Project Manager, EDF. “We have full confidence in GE Power Conversion to design and build a reliable and robust system that will allow continuous power generation and other operation requirements.”

The MV7000, once installed in the onshore substation, converts HVDC back to HVAC which is compatible with the French grid.

“GE Power Conversion’s advanced engineering coupled with customized solution brings optimized power conversion efficiency,” said Frédéric Navarro, Project Director, GE Power Conversion. “While 1MW power output transmitted over 16km distance seems modest, GE’s engineering design for this project sets the foundation for future applications with higher power and longer distance transmission.”

Furthermore, GE’s subsea converter also has the potential for future upgrades, as its design leaves the possibility of connecting with two additional turbines, the company added.

“As one of the first tidal farms of its kind to soon start operation, it is a big step forward for GE to position itself in the growing tidal market,” said John Chatwin, Power & Industry Segment Leader, GE Power Conversion. “Bringing its robust and innovative products and systems built on proven technology, GE is committed to unlocking the huge potential of tidal energy to power the world.”


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