Atlantis takes MeyGen tidal control

London-headquartered Atlantis Resources has taken over ownership of Europe’s largest tidal power project, the near-400MW MeyGen project off Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

The acquisition, which involves an undisclosed buy-up of equity from joint venture partners Morgan Stanley and GDF Suez, comes in the wake of the development being awarded offshore planning consents by the Scottish government.

“The size, location and tidal resource of MeyGen make it one of the most exciting marine energy projects under development anywhere in the world and Atlantis has been considering increasing the size of its shareholding for some time, subject to the award of consents,” says Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius.

“Now that the project has cleared this major regulatory hurdle, it is the logical time for us to do so.”

Located in the Pentland Firth’s Inner Sound area where tidal current races through at over four metres per second, the 3.5 sq km project site is being developed in multiple stages.

The green light has been given to a lead-off 9MW demonstration project, planned as a stepping stone to an 86MW array – power enough for some 40% of the population of the Scottish Highlands – before the full-scope 398MW development is built.

Installation of the first six turbines, being supplied by Atlantis, would begin early next year, with switch-on “in late 2015 or early 2016”.

Morgan Stanley’s John Woodley states:  “Now that the MeyGen project has achieved offshore consents it makes sense for control of the project to revert back to Atlantis.  We continue to be a shareholder in Atlantis and remain involved and supportive of its development plans both in the Pentland Firth, and elsewhere around the world.”

In September, US military industrial giant Lockheed Martin inked a global partnership deal with Atlantis to bring the latter’s new 1.5MW turbine system to market, with an eye on deliveries to MeyGen. Atlantis plans to install machines in Canada’s Bay of Fundy and India’s Gulf of Kutch, among other locations.

Atlantis’ 1MW AR1000 turbine, a three-bladed machine standing 22.5 metres tall, weighing 1,500 tonnes and outfitted with an 18-metre-diameter rotor and permanent-magnet generator, has been trialled at the European Marine Energy Centre and test-bench tested at the National Renewable Energy Centre at Blyth.

Alstom was signed up to install turbines for MeyGen but withdrew from the project in January.

An Alstom spokesperson says: "We were historically involved in supporting Meygen in the consenting [environmental impact assessment] process but are not currently involved in any agreement to supply turbines."

Note: Amends original article to reflect Alstom status with project