SIMEC Atlantis Energy, the developer of the MeyGen tidal energy project, has reduced the financial losses for 2020 – the year in which MeyGen tidal array exported over 37GWh of clean power to the UK grid, breaking every record for tidal energy production set so far.

Photo showing SIMEC Atlantis’ team in front of MeyGen’s AR1500 tidal turbine (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis Energy)
SIMEC Atlantis’ team in front of AR1500 tidal turbine installed for the MeyGen project (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis Energy)

Aside from its record-breaking power production achievement, the 6MW Phase 1 of the MeyGen project generated revenues of £3.2 million from the sales of power and Renewables Obligations Certificates, SIMEC Atlantis informed.

The energy generated by the MeyGen project during 2020 is equivalent to the annual consumption of around 12,000 UK households.

MeyGen’s generation experienced some interruptions during 2020, but the efficiency of turbine recovery and re-deployment in such a hostile environment gave further confidence in being able to reduce the long-term cost of generating energy from tidal sources, according to the company.

Graham Reid, the newly-appointed CEO of SIMEC Atlantis, said: “What is as exciting is that the next round of the contract for difference regime is expected to be announced later this summer. This could present SIMEC Atlantis with the opportunity to develop MeyGen Phase 2 – utilising the consents, grid connections and licences that are already in place, taking the existing capacity to 86 MW”.

The achievements were revealed in SIMEC Atlantis’ financial results for 2020, according to which the company manged to reduce its losses for the year from £35.4 million recorded in 2019, to £19.4 million.

The decreased loss is due to the revenue generated by Atlantis Turbine and Engineering Services (ATES) division along with full year results of Green Highland Renewables (GHR) being included in Group results since acquisition in October 2019.

According to the financial report, the ATES division contributed £6.5 million of revenue from project development and installation of the tidal turbine in Japan.

“The materially increased revenues from the tidal division, mainly as a result of the Japanese project, demonstrate the potential in this sector alongside the continuing generation from MeyGen and a full-year’s contribution from GHR”, said John Neil, the chairman of SIMEC Atlantis Group.

SIMEC Atlantis turning tide in favor of sector across globe

Photo showing SIMEC Atlantis’ AR500 on its way to the installation site in Japan (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis Energy)
SIMEC Atlantis’ AR500 on its way to the installation site in Japan (Courtesy of SIMEC Atlantis Energy)

Demonstrating SIMEC Atlantis’ ability to deploy the turbine technology far from home, February 2021 saw the installation of a pilot turbine, AR500, located in the straits of Naru Island, within the southern Japanese Goto island chain.

Working at SIMEC Atlantis’ operations and maintenance base at Nigg Energy Park in Scotland, the 500kW turbine was assembled and tested in nine weeks before shipping to Japan.

The Scottish made tidal generation equipment arrived in Japan in December 2020 and was successfully commissioned in February 2021.

Since, the turbine had already clocked up 10MWh of generation by May 2021, and has met the stringent acceptance standards of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

To remind, in March 2020, the MeyGen project was awarded £1.5 million in grant funding from the Scottish Government’s Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to develop a subsea tidal turbine connection hub for the next phase of development of the MeyGen tidal power array.

The subsea hub was successfully installed in September 2020 and its deployment is said to be a key part of the overall cost reduction strategy for tidal power generation.

Furthermore, in June 2020 Atlantis announced that the local prefecture in French region of Normandy had approved the transfer of the rights to a tidal project site in the Raz Blanchard from original developer ENGIE to Normandie Hydroliennes.

This continues the progression of the project which ultimately aims to connect four turbines via a sub-sea hub and further reduce the long-term cost of energy.

“The final piece in the tidal jigsaw is the continuing work via our Normandie Hydrolienne joint venture on the Raz Blanchard project which will utilise the experience from MeyGen and Japan to connect four turbines via a subsea hub – this is fundamental to continued progress in reducing the levelized cost of energy for tidal deployments”, Reid concluded.

On the other hand, the receivers were appointed over the shares of SIMEC Atlantis’ major shareholder on 18 May 2021, SIMEC UK Energy Holdings (SUEH).

At the date of the publication of the results, 30 June 2021, SIMEC Atlantis said it ‘is in productive discussions with the receivers of SUEH and continues to focus on the tidal, Uskmouth conversion project and hydro projects with vigour and intent’, without revealing any additional detals.

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