Being developed in France by OpenHydro, the EDF EN-operated Normandie Hydro plant is a tidal energy demonstration plant located at Raz Blanchard west of the Cotentin peninsula in the English Channel.

The turbines being developed for demonstration plant feature a rotor diameter of 16m and will be installed on the sea floor.

France plans to support the development and operation of the seven-turbine demonstration project through operating and investment aid. However, a part of the investment aid is planned to be reimbursed if the technology is successful.

According to the commission, the measure will contribute further the EU’s energy and climate goals while maintaining competition in the single market.

EU competition policy commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Tidal energy is one of the technologies that can contribute in the transition towards a climate friendly energy supply in Europe.

“The French project approved today will help showcase tidal energy technology, while limiting distortions of competition”

The public support for the project aims to test the novel technology and verify the potential for tidal energy in France prior to large-scale deployment.

The commission, which assessed the scheme under its 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, said the project will help the country meet its 2020 renewable energy target.

The 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy allow Member States to support renewable energy projects but with certain conditions.

European Commission said in a statement: “The Commission found that the project promotes market penetration of a novel renewable energy technology and that the level of aid is proportionate and will not lead to overcompensation, in line with the Guidelines.”

Consequently, the commission concluded that the project will promote the use of renewable sources to generate electricity and in accordance with the objectives of the European Energy Union, without distorting competition.