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SIMEC Atlantis eyeing major tidal power opportunity off the coast of Normandy

SIMEC Atlantis said it is committed to building capacity in the local areas where it operates. "Crucially, the MeyGen extension will make extensive use of the Scottish supply chain," the company said
Alderney
“France is sitting on a low cost renewable energy gold mine at Raz Blanchard," said SIMEC Atlantis's CEO, Tim Cornelius

SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited (LON:SAE) has joined a joint venture (JV) that will develop a large scale tidal power project in Le Raz Blanchard, Normandy.

Atlantis will hold a majority stake in the JV, Normandie Hydrolienne. Its partners are the Development Agency for Normandy (AD Normandy) and the regional investment fund, Normandie Participations.

WATCH: SIMEC eyes£4.8mln annual revenue from MeyGen

Normandie Hydrolienne has been established with the intention of eventually harnessing up to two gigawatts (2GW) of power from the Alderney Race, the eight-mile strait that runs between Alderney and La Hague, France, as well as more than 1GW of the resource from adjacent concessions under the control of the States of Alderney.

A study by SIMEC Atlantis in April of this year concluded that Le Raz Blanchard has one of the best tidal energy resources in the world.

Normandie Hydrolienne will investigate the feasibility from a technical and economic standpoint of a multi-hundred-megawatt tidal energy project to be located in Le Raz Blanchard, with the possibility of expanding the project to make use of all the currently unexploited resource present in The Alderney Race.

The JV will seek to determine whether it is possible to deliver energy profitably at a price that is less than the current offshore wind feed-in tariff (for projects to be delivered between 2021-23) of €150 per megawatt hour.

The company will prepare an application for consent to build a multi-hundred-megawatt tidal energy project in Raz Blanchard and work closely with ADEME (the French environment and energy management agency) and all relevant government ministries to obtain all relevant approvals.

The plan is for Normandie Hydrolienne to build a demonstration array using AR2000 2MW horizontal axis turbines that will be built in France.

If all goes well, the JV would have a full multi-hundred MW array online by 2024 using AR2000 turbines.

"Raz Blanchard is sitting on a huge amount of renewable, predictable energy and we wish to bring our project development, financing and power production expertise to help the region of Normandie create jobs and attract a substantial amount of investment into the Region,” said Tim Cornelius, the chief executive officer of SIMEC Atlantis.

“Our techno-economic feasibility study plans for the delivery of an initial 1GW of operational capacity by 2025, which could be quickly expanded to 2GW by 2027, at a Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) competitive with offshore wind farms currently in construction in France.

"Raz Blanchard will be delivered in stages to allow the supply chain to grow in line with our expansion plans," he added.

Hervé Morin, the president of Région Normandie, said the region of Normandy has long been a supporter of the tidal industry.

“We have spent a lot of time, energy and money to foster the development of a clean, predictable energy that we believe is an amazing opportunity for our region,” Morin said.

“It is time for Normandie to become a pioneer in seeking to economically exploit this abundant source of energy and to once again show its commitment to the deployment of blue energy solutions. SIMEC Atlantis has an unparalleled record of delivering tidal energy projects and we look forward to making use of their experience to bring investment, collaboration and job creation to the region," he added.

In a separate announcement, the company is preparing to introduce its new turbines with the larger rotor diameters and make use of sub-sea hubs in a move that could open up new markets for the company.

READ: SIMEC Atlantis Energy unveils world's largest single-rotor tidal turbine

The company now has advanced plans to enhance the existing 6MW array at its MeyGen project in the Pentland Forth, through the addition of at least two of the company's new tidal turbines. When installed, these new Atlantis turbines, which are capable of generating up to 2.0MW using more powerful generators, will use a new sub-sea connection hub and share a single export cable, thus significantly reducing infrastructure costs.

READ: SIMEC Atlantis gets two turbines back online at MeyGen

"Project Stroma will be an important enabler for the subsequent extension of the MeyGen site by a further 80MW, and ultimately to the full site capacity of 400MW,” SIMEC Atlantis’s boss, Tim Cornelius, said.

“Nearby sites in the Pentland Firth offer significant further growth potential as part of the UK's total potential of 8,500MW. Worldwide, a tidal stream represents a 99,000MW development opportunity for clean, secure and predictable energy at a cost competitive with other forms of green energy.

“Larger rotor diameter turbines and sub-sea connection hubs will open up new markets for Atlantis in places like France, South Korea, Japan and the Channel Islands. A sub-sea connection will eliminate the need for offshore transformer platforms which is particularly important in locations such as Alderney where preservation of natural beauty will be a key factor in decision making in relation to any future award of development rights," he added.

SIMEC shares surged by a third to 16.1p on Tuesday.

--Updates for share price and video link--

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