ELEMENT: Local Community Engagement Report

Published: 14 July 2023

This report provides feedback on three local community engagement activities that were held from June 2022 to February 2023 related to the test from February to April 2023 of a tidal turbine in the Etel estuary in Brittany, France, for the ELEMENT project.

• A local Nautical Commission meeting was convened on 29 June 2022 to explain the project to local marine users and Prefects and to receive their observations and recommendations regarding the test;
• A local public town hall meeting was held on 24 October 2022 to explain the project to local citizens before the Etel tidal turbine test started;
• A site visit on the test premises was carried out on 9 February 2023 with local authorities, associations, businesses and journalists with the tidal turbine visible before the machine was put in the water.

The Nautical Commission provided a favourable opinion on the project. The main takeaway from the Commission was to inform marine users of the project and remind them of the site’s navigation rules. Navigation remains permitted but it is reminded that fishing with passive gear is prohibited in the sector, as well as anchoring and diving.

The public town hall received more interest than expected with 75 participating citizens. The participants’ concerns related to this new technology were dissipated by explaining the project and answering their questions. Moreover, a survey was conducted during the event and showed that tidal turbine technology is the favoured source of electricity in general and even in case when the tidal turbine is installed close to the participants’ homes and/or work area. Most participants mentioned that public events should be organised prior to such installations.

The site visit, that showed the tidal turbine before installation, was positively welcomed by the local authorities, associations, businesses and journalists. A number of positive articles, radio and television news were published with regards to the event.

An annex to the report can also be downloaded here – ELEMENT-EU-D12.5 Annex