Atlantis seeks custom-made electricity supply contract for its 369-MW Scottish tidal power generator after missing out in Brit-Govt auction

Computer-image of Atlantis Resources' Meygen wave turbines in the Pentland Firth.
Computer-image of Atlantis Resources’ Meygen wave turbines in the Pentland Firth.

The head of the global tidal power giant that is building the world’s biggest subsea tidal array off northern Scotland is to seek a separate electricity supply contract after losing out in the latest Brit-Govt auction.

Atlantis Resources is developing the MeyGen project – the largest consented tidal stream power project in Europe – off the Caithness coast.

When fully constructed, the 398 megawatt MeyGen array will consist of 269 submerged tidal turbines – enough to power 175,000 Scottish homes.

Atlantis had forecast a two-thirds reduction in the level of revenue support required for Phase 1C versus that enjoyed by the first phase of the MeyGen project and submitted a very competitive bid into the contract-for-difference auction process. 

In a stock-exchange statement, the company said yesterday: “However, this significant cost reduction was not sufficient to allow the project to secure a contract for difference in this auction where it was competing with established technologies such as offshore wind.”

“We have made great strides in reducing our cost of generation so that we can slash our requirement for revenue support.

“However, we must acknowledge the difficulties of competing on a level playing field with established technologies like offshore wind, which has been operating at commercial scale in the UK for over a decade.”

Tim Cornelius
Tim Cornelius

But last night Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis Resources, warned: “We hope that the UK can continue to play a leading role in an industry it helped create over the past decade.

“Given the significant subsidy reduction already forecast by MeyGen and the opportunity to preserve an important domestic and export tidal stream industry, Atlantis expects BEIS to recognise the benefits of either a bi-lateral CfD discussion or the reintroduction of a marine energy sub-category in the next allocation round, either of which would be welcomed by Atlantis. 

“We expect our ensuing discussions with BEIS to focus on how the future jobs and growth benefits of the sector can be secured for the UK. 

“Our UK portfolio contains some of the best tidal stream sites in the world, and we support the ambition to ensure that the development of these sites is achieved through a UK focused supply chain rather than relying on imported skills and goods.

“It would be a travesty if the UK were to lose out on another emerging industry where it has established a first-mover advantage and where the cost of energy is on a steep downward trajectory. “

Meanwhile, Atlantis is actively progressing rival tidal power opportunities in France and Canada –  both of which have pledged capital and revenue support for tidal stream power – and has a major announcement in the pipeline about a new marine  energy development in south-east Asia.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse commented: “While the CFD result is a disappointing one for the tidal industry, it comes as no surprise. 

“Innovative projects will always lose in a UK Government scheme designed to favour big players and more mature technologies. 

I call on the UK Government to commit to a fairer system that offers early stage technologies the chance to replicate the cost reductions we are seeing in offshore wind.”

12 Sept 2017

 

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