EU clears French state-aid for tidal energy plant

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has cleared French state support for an experimental tidal power plant off the northwestern coast of the country, saying the aid given was in line with European rules.

France will support the construction of four turbines, which will each produce 1.4 megawatts of electricity, through a direct grant and repayable advances, the Commission said, without stating the amount of money pledged.

The NEPTHYD (Normandie Energie PiloTe HYDrolien) pilot farm will be located at Raz Blanchard, west of the Cotentin peninsular. A subsidiary of Engie will build and operate the plant for 20 years.

The Commission said the project supported market entry of a novel renewable energy technology, including turbines with several innovative features, with aid limited to the cost of producing electricity from the plant.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop