The funding was awarded from the second round of the EC’s NER300 funding programme.

The project, dubbed New Energy for Martinique and Overseas (NEMO), was awarded funding after a 12-month audit led by the European Investment Bank.

Both the firms have been working with the Caribbean French island of Martinique for several years to define the options and conditions for a pilot OTEC plant installation.

The project, which is expected to start operations in four years, will generate enough energy for about 35,000 homes in the region.

The floating platform will be anchored in the sea and utilise the temperature difference between the warm water at the surface and the cold water in the depths to generate free electricity.

DCNS senior vice president for marine renewable energy Frédéric Le Lidec said the selection of the project by Europe indicates the development of an OTEC industrial sector in which the company 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," Le Lidec added.

Akuo Energy CEO Eric Scotto said, "The success of the NEMO project is a source of pride for Martinique and all the French overseas regions."

The NEMO project intends to deliver about 395GWh if electricity in the first five years of operation.

Image: The platform is expected to be mounted within a floating barge moored some 5km off the west coast of Martinique. Photo: Courtesy of DCNS.