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Ushant (Ouessant in French) is an island community located off the northwest coast of Brittany in the Iroise Sea, at the southern end of the western entrance to the Channel. The island is the largest and most westerly of the Iles du Ponant, with an area of 15.01km2. It is largely flat, with the highest elevation at just 61m above mean sea level. The island is a rocky surface covered with many grass fields and there is very little woodland. Around the edge of the island are rocky cliffs interspersed with several sandy beaches, and the surrounding waters contain many small islands and outcrops.


The permanent population of the island is approximately 850 people; however, there are large numbers of seasonal visitors and tourists and the population reaches approximately 3,000 during the busiest summer months. The majority of people and cargo are brought to the island by sea via daily ferry services from the mainland and regular freight services. There is also a small passenger air service bringing people from Brest Airport. The island is electrically isolated, having no physical connection to mainland France. It is a publicly administered commune.


The island is aiming to have 70% of all electricity generation from RE sources by 2020 and 100% by 2030. For the island to meet these goals there will need to be a significant amount of new renewable generating capacity installed through technologies such as solar PV, tidal stream, wind, and biomass generation technologies.


In order to determine the right technologies to install, an analysis of local conditions was made. First, it was showed that solar radiation is much greater in the summer months whereas the island’s energy demand is greatest in the winter. This limitation means that other sources of generation will always be required even if an extensive expansion of PV was applied. Second, wind energy generation is shown to be sufficient to achieve the 70% (2020) and 100% (2030) renewable targets if combined with battery storage and further solar and/or tidal generation. Finally, granted technical, environmental, social and political constraints, together with tidal characteristics (Sabella D10), it was found that the sites at the Fromveur Passage were well suited for tidal current energy exploitation.

Ushant is thus well-placed to benefit from solar, tidal, wind and biomass energy. While wave energy may be an option for the future, it is not sufficiently commercially developed to be considered as part of the energy mix at this time.


On this Island, the aim is hence to optimize the energy from an innovative tidal turbine electricity production already connected to Ushant’s grid. The part that is not connected to the mainland power grid will hence be, using SABELLA’s subsea tidal turbine that has already obtained the authorization to be immersed and connected to Ushant’s grid. The system then combines existing and new low carbon products. In particular, three new products will be produced:

  1. sensors to control energy production, storage and consumption,

  2. a power battery solution dedicated to the tidal turbine,

  3. an IT solution for the regulation of the energy system.


The first implementation level will be focused on the electricity distribution grid (today already installed in Ushant) which will be adjusted and configured to enhance its capacity to absorb RE production (PV panels and tidal turbine) and to distribute energy to meet constantly changing consumption patterns.

The second implementation level will deploy all the sensors and smart-metering systems, mentioned above, to design the communication architecture and collect data required for a Smart Grid operation.

Last and most importantly, everything will be managed by an advanced IT system for demand response management using detailed real-time data. The Smart Grid operation and maintenance phase will handle the whole system ensuring its best performance and an uninterrupted energy supply.

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