Major boost for Scottish tidal energy industry as Atlantis takes over of Siemens’ UK marine-power subsidiary

Marine Current Turbines  - now under Atlantis ownership
Marine Current Turbines – now under Atlantis ownership

Atlantis Resources – which is building the world’s biggest tidal turbine array off Caithness – has taken over Siemens’ marine turbine subsidiary in the UK.

The price paid for the deal – in a shares-only – transaction has not been disclosed. Siemens will be allocated 9.99% of the enlarged Atlantis share capital.

As a result of the takeover  – valued by some industry observers at around £10 million – Atlantis acquires Siemens’ Bristol-based tidal business, Marine Current Turbines Ltd, including extensive UK seabed rights, intellectual property and existing staff and projects.

Atlantis is acquiring MCT on a debt free basis.  For the year ending 30 September 2014, MCT made a post-tax loss of £7,293,000, which was largely due to £6,828,000 of expensed research and development and associated costs.  As the technology enters its commercialisation phase, research and development expenditure is expected to reduce markedly.

This move consolidates two rival tidal technologies under the Atlantis turbine business and further enhances its position as a global leader in tidal-current power.

Other assets acquired by Atlantis – whose Edinburgh-based subsidiary MeyGen is building the Pentland Firth marine power asset – include;

  • MCT’s portfolio of six projects – expanding Atlantics footprint into Wales, Northern Ireland and Southern England and an increased project development portfolio in Scotland
  • An additional potential project development capacity of 200MW augmenting existing capacity to nearly 600 MW of project pipeline creating one of the largest tidal project portfolios in the United Kingdom
  • The acquisition of MCT 1.2MW surface-piercing tidal SeaGen system (“SeaGen S”). This is the world’s first utility scale electricity generating tidal stream project with the longest track record of generation, having now been operating for over five years at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, generating approximately 10 gigawatt hours of electricity and selling that electricity into the grid, and
  • MCT’s extensive tidal turbine intellectual property portfolio and the designs for MCT’s turbines, including its next generation 1 MW fully submerged SeaGen turbine (“SeaGen U”) and its 1MW SeaGen system designed for floating deployment applications (“SeaGen F”).

The SeaGen system will open up new project development locations and opportunities for Atlantis, widening the total potential addressable market. It is possible that floating SeaGen systems could be deployed on sites where Atlantis’ AR1500 turbines will be deployed to increase total installed capacity on a project location.

In Scotland – where the Global Energy Group is already an existing supplier to the Atlantis-MeyGen project –  Atlantis will now lease a facility at GEG’s Nigg Energy Park for turbine assembly and testing, and will relocate activities and equipment from MCT’s existing Bristol turbine integration facility as well as Atlantis’ UK turbine assembly and testing programmes in support of the MeyGen project.

The recently completed quay side extension at Nigg Energy Park will allow Atlantis to conduct foundation and turbine fabrication, assembly and testing as well as vessel operations supporting MeyGen and other future projects in the enlarged Atlantis portfolio.

Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis Resources2Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive, Atlantis, (left) commented: We are delighted to be acquiring this leading British tidal power company from Siemens, which firmly positions Atlantis as a leader in UK tidal power and globally.  

“Marine Current Turbines has developed a world leading tidal turbine, a world class engineering team, unrivalled expertise in long-term turbine operations and testing through its SeaGen installation at Strangford Lough and an impressive portfolio of projects under development across the UK.

“We welcome Siemens as an Atlantis shareholder. This deal sees two industry leaders, MCT and Atlantis, combining to underpin the UK’s position as one of Europe’s tidal power leaders.”

Gordon Ronaldson, Executive Vice-President, Global Energy, added: “We are delighted to have played a role in assisting in the consolidation of the tidal power market in the UK. 

“There is a real opportunity through this acquisition to establish Scotland as the centre of excellence for the sector, in terms of IP ownership, project development and manufacturing. This is an important and exciting milestone in establishing Nigg as Scotland’s main construction and logistics base for offshore renewables.”

The MeyGen project is the largest planned tidal development project in the world at 398 megawatts of total installed capacity when fully constructed. Situated in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, the MeyGen array will consist of 269 submerged tidal turbines, capable of powering 175,000 homes.

 

COMMENT:

Almost single-handedly, Atlantis Resources is rapidly rising up the private-sector economic and industrial power charts.

Its shrewd acquisition of the UK marine power subsidiary from the German multinational conglomerate Siemens provides Atlantis with significant new intellectual-property fire-power and experience in tidal turbines, an attractive property and seabed portfolio across the UK and a project-development portolio.

The enlarged turbine-fabrication facilities which Atlantis is leasing at Nigg for its Pentland Firth tidal array will also an economic boost to the area. And it is already working in partnership with giant US defence contractor Lockheed Martin to design and develop its tidal turbines for the MeyGen project off Caithness.

Atlantis has the corporate potential – supported by a track record of development and innovation in  turbine technology – to truly become a global player in the renewable marine power sector.

 

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