Simec Atlantis wins big in tidal energy grant funding

A turbine for the Simec Atlantis  MeyGen project.
A turbine for the Simec Atlantis MeyGen project.

A Pentland Firth-based tidal energy project has announced a large-scale grant funding win.

Simec Atlantis Energy yesterday signed an agreement with the European Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) for almost £900,000.

The firm, which owns a 77% stake in the MeyGen AR1500 tidal array off Caithness, said the funding will support its tidal development programme.

Simec Atlantis said it will look to “enhance” the six megawatt (MW) MeyGen project, while also beefing up the development of at least two more of its 2MW turbines.

The new turbines will utilise more powerful generators and larger rotor diameters.

Simec Atlantis is targeting first power generation through the new subsea connection hub in late 2019.

Drew Blaxland, director of turbine and engineering services for Simec Atlantis Energy, said: “The AR1500 turbine installed at the MeyGen project in 2017 marked the first commercial scale turbine installed in a tidal array.

“Following this successful deployment and record breaking operation of the AR1500 turbine we now look to the future and where opportunities to reduce the LCOE exist. This grant agreement and support from the Sustainable Blue Economy call allows us to accelerate one of our key LCOE cost reduction initiatives.”

Adding to Simec Atlantis Energy’s 1000 MW portfolio, the firm said the funding will focus on “focus on the turbine upgrades needed to utilise the subsea hub and shared export cable”.

Ricardo Rodriguez, general manager of Asturfeito SAU added: “This project represents a great opportunity for Asturfeito to enter a promising renewable energy sector partnering with key player SIMEC Atlantis.

“By providing our experience in subsea, oil & gas and offshore wind from the design stage, and using our capability to manufacture, integrate and test complex assemblies, we can support the development of cost effective turbines.”