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DCNS eyeing opportunities in maritime energy

M. Somasekhar
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Mr Bernard Plamchais, Executive Vice-President and COO , DCNS
BUSINESS LINE Mr Bernard Plamchais, Executive Vice-President and COO , DCNS

DCNS, a global leader in naval defence and ship building, is exploring opportunities in marine renewable energy in India.

The nearly 400-year-old French company, which is currently building six Scorpene submarines in a multi-million dollar contract for the Indian Navy, has built expertise in maritime renewable energy — tidal, wave, ocean thermal, wind and floating wind turbines.

Mr Bernard Planchais, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of DCNS, France, said “We have reached prototype stage in turbines. A 16-metre wide turbine to produce ocean thermal energy is ready. Each turbine can generate 2 MW. When connected, you can set up a 100-MW project”.

There are two types of energy that can be harnessed from the ocean — thermal energy or converting the sun’s energy that is trapped by ocean waters into reusable form and energy produced from waves and tides.

The French company has also readied a floating wind turbine (Winflo). The first MW version is being tested in western France by the year end. It can be installed in 50-100 metres depth. A 5-MW commercial turbine can be set up, he told Business Line.

“In India, Gujarat offers good potential and we would like to focus there. At present, the cost of MW energy from these sources will be higher than nuclear and lower than solar energy in France. Our efforts are directed to considerably lower the costs with continuous research efforts, Mr Planchais said.

According to estimates, a potential of 8000 MW of energy from tidal projects could be tapped from the Gulf of Cambay and Gulf of Kutch alone in Gujarat. The Sunderbans in West Bengal and a few other coastal areas also offer scope.

After 2020, DCNS wants to generate a third of the total revenues from the French Navy, foreign navy contracts and from maritime energy respectively. The €2.6-billion revenue company wants to cross the €4-billion mark by that time, he said.

(This article was published on July 16, 2012)
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