October 22, 2021

First with the Alderney News

Atlantis powers on with Raz Blanchard project

3 min read

SIMEC Atlantis deploying one of its 1.5MW turbines into the Pentland Firth

Renewable energy firm SIMEC Atlantis is a step closer to generating tidal power in the Raz Blanchard which will be exported to Alderney.

The Edinburgh-based company has won approval from Normandy authorities to transfer a 12MW development licence from Engie to joint venture group Normandie Hydroliennes, which Simec Atlantis has a 49 per cent stake in.

Normandie Hydrolienne is the marine energy development company set up between Atlantis, AD Normandie – the economic development agency for the region – plus regional investment fund Normandie Participations and local economic industrial group EFINOR. The latter provides engineering services and manufacturing support for the naval, nuclear and aerospace industries.

This 12MW test project has been backed by 46 million Euros of EU funding.

But Normandie Hydroliennes has the long-term goal to unlock up to 2GW of power from the Alderney Race, as well as more than 1GW of resource from adjacent concessions under the control of the States of Alderney.

Simec Atlantis Chief Executive Officer Tim Cornelious said the transfer was the fruit of 12 months work on obtaining approvals from French Environmental and Energy Management Agency and other government ministries. He said was the first stage of a ‘potential multi-hundred-megawatt project marine energy project in Raz Blanchard’, he said.

Mr Cornelius said at the time: We are absolutely delighted to secure AEL as a customer for electricity generated from the powerful waters of the Raz Blanchard.

Mr Cornelius said: The territorial waters of Normandy have huge untapped tidal power resource, and material progress can now be made in setting up the infrastructure and supply chain required in Normandy to deliver this €50+m project. This approval will allow us to get on with the task of delivering sustainable power to this region while also creating local jobs and attracting substantial investment in the area. Normandie Hydrolienne is committed to ensuring that this array is the catalyst for the installation and delivery of at least 1GW of operational capacity in the Alderney Race, which could be quickly expanded to 2GW with the right investment, government support and collaboration with developers from across France.

This approval will allow us to get on with the task of delivering sustainable power to this region while also creating local jobs and attracting substantial investment in the area. 

SIMEC Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius

In September SIMEC Atlantis signed terms with Alderney Electricity to supply power from the proposed 12 MW test tidal array in the Raz Blanchard to Alderney in the Channel Islands. The terms were signed through Normandie Hydroliennes.

Although unlikely to immediately bring down the household cost of electricity it would minimise the Island’s dependency on ever more expensive carbon-intensive diesel.

This is the first, important step in unlocking the vast economic potential of the tidal flows around the Channel Islands and it has taken the forward-thinking management of AEL to make this happen.

AEL and Normandie Hydroliennes seek to sign a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), from which AEL would purchase a minimum of 5GWh of electricity a year from Normandie Hydroliennes at a fixed price.

Mr Cornelius believes Channel Islands and France are among the four best locations for harvesting tidal-stream energy in the world – alongside Canada, Scotland and South Korea.

The expert said the Channel Islands were in a unique position for exporting energy because of their access to both the UK and European electricity grids.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy was initially was a developer of the tidal power turbines and projects, but after becoming a part of the GFG Alliance has expanded its business to waste-to-energy and hydropower. Atlantis has commercial and project development teams based in Edinburgh and its turbine and engineering services division is located in Bristol. Through its subsidiaries, the company has designed and deployed four 1.5MW turbines in the Pentland Firth Meygen project – the world’s largest tidal stream power project, a 160 MW Wyre tidal barrage on the River Wyre in Lancashire and a 220 MW waste-to-energy power project in Uskmouth. In China it helped to design the 500-kilowatt tidal-stream turbine which was installed between Putuoshan and Huyladao islans in the Zhoushan archipelago.  

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