Multi-criteria analysis to evaluate tidal energy potential in France


  • Florian Castillo INNOSEA
  • Maria Ikhennicheu INNOSEA
  • Jean-Christophe Gilloteaux INNOSEA



Tidal turbine, Potential assessment, France, Multicriteria analysis


France benefits from an important tidal energy resource, with the second largest potential in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. In addition, France has an important industrial and academic fabric, with several tidal developers, shipyards, and research centers, creating, theoretically, an attractive environment. However, though some tidal turbines already installed, such as Sabella demonstrator at Ouessant Island, or Guinard energy turbine in the Etel river, the sector still has a large development potential. One limitation of such a development is the lack of available data to assess the total potential. Previous studies mainly focused on the most energetic sites, such as the Alderney Race or the Fromveur Passage, while other sites are neglected. Yet, those sites, such has rivers or estuaries, offer softer conditions, lowering the risks. Moreover, although identifying a suitable area for tidal array implementation requires technical criteria (maximum current velocity, water depth, installable potential, etc.), it should also consider other aspects such as ecological indicators (migratory fishes, specific habitats, etc.), regulation specificities (Natura 2000, ZNIEFF, etc.) or human activities conflicts (fishery, UXO, etc.). On top of that, socioeconomic indicators, such as potential local content or partnerships with relevant academic stakeholders, are encouraged by authorities, and must be accounted for.

Hence, this study proposes an extensive multi-criteria analysis methodology, to assess tidal energy potential of ten sites in France, including five nearshore locations (Alderney race, Fromveur passage, Raz-de-Sein, Raz-Barfleur, Paimpol-Bréhat), and five estuaries, river or similar (Gironde estuary, Gulf of Morbihan, Adour river, Etel river, Arcachon Bay). The analysis is limited to ten sites, selected based on a pre-screening analysis, which will be detailed in the study.

The different criteria used will be presented, including their weight to the final score which reflect their importance during project development, and the 3-level grading system used to discriminate sites. The methodology developed to assess full-time equivalent employments created by a tidal array, using world input-output tables and other economic parameters will also be detailed. A specific focus will be proposed on methodology used to assess the installable capacity, relying on data from MARS 2D model for nearshore sites and public data for the others.

First analysis shows that Raz-de-Sein and Paimpol-Bréhat are the two most suitable sites for tidal arrays implementation, while the Alderney Race is the most energetic one. Those results are driven by high scores obtained by these sites in categories such as ecological or human activities. Direct, indirect, and induced employments created during construction and operational phase by each project are also calculated, as well as potential growth value added. Hypothesis and sensitivity to them will be discussed.

This research was funded by the H2020 projet ELEMENT, grant number 815180.



How to Cite

F. Castillo, M. Ikhennicheu, and J.-C. Gilloteaux, “Multi-criteria analysis to evaluate tidal energy potential in France”, Proc. EWTEC, vol. 15, Sep. 2023.