SIMEC Atlantis ready to aid Normandie Hydro tidal demo

The AR1500 tidal energy turbine. Source: Lockheed Martin

July 27 (Renewables Now) - SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (LON:SAE) is willing to invest alongside existing shareholders in OpenHydro’s 14-MW Normandie Hydro tidal energy demonstration project in French waters.

The company, formerly known as Atlantis Resources, released a statement after it became known that French marine renewables specialist Naval Energies had placed its tidal turbines unit OpenHydro into liquidation because it sees a lack of commercial prospects over the long term. The announcement came just a month after Naval Energies inaugurated an assembly plant for OpenHydro tidal turbines in Cherbourg, France, and it seems that SIMEC Atlantis might have plans for that facility.

The firm behind the 398-MW MeyGen tidal energy development in Scotland said it was saddened to hear the news about OpenHydro. It added though that it continues to be hopeful about the tidal power sector and intends to bid future phases of MeyGen and its wider portfolio in the next Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions in the UK.

Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis, commented that the company’s tidal stream division currently has more services and equipment contracts in Asia and Europe than ever before. It expects to make a number of material investment decisions this year regarding the next series of commercial scale arrays in the UK.

“If we are able to make progress with the French Government on the development of large scale arrays in Normandy and Brittany, we would be delighted to discuss the future of the Cherbourg plant as we are currently running out of capacity at our facility at Nigg Energy Park in Scotland,” Cornelius noted.

If needed, SIMEC Atlantis can even deliver equipment for the Normandie Hydro project, which was approved by the European Commission a day before OpenHydro’s faith was revealed. Moreover, Cornelius said that the company could invest alongside existing shareholders. He believes that SIMEC Atlantis can deliver in 2019/20 pilot farms in Normandie within existing support mechanisms, and commercial scale arrays for less than EUR 70 (USD 81.4) per MWh by 2025.

SIMEC Atlantis itself has proposed to the French government a 1-GW tidal stream project in Raz Blanchard, Normandy, claiming that it would be delivering power at less than the current price of offshore wind in France by 2025.

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.163)

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