Tidal power developer Atlantis swings to £7.3m loss

Atlantis Resources, the Edinburgh-based tidal energy developer, swung into the red last year despite its ground-breaking MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth coming on stream.

Atlantis Resources chief Tim Cornelius said 2017 would be a year of 'advancement' for the group. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Atlantis Resources chief Tim Cornelius said 2017 would be a year of 'advancement' for the group. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The company, whose financial backers include Scottish Enterprise, saw losses of £7.3 million in 2016 compared to a profit of £2.03m the previous year, although the 2015 figure had included one-off gains of more than £10m.

Despite the losses, partly caused by reduced income and increased financing costs, chairman John Neill said it had been “another year of world firsts for the group and tidal power” which had seen the company “cement its reputation as the driving force behind a growing sector”.

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He singled out first power from the MeyGen project after many years of hard work as the most significant achievement. The first phase of the project has seen four 1.5 megawatt (MW) turbines installed but up to 269 turbines producing enough energy to power 175,000 homes could eventually be deployed at the site.

Chief executive Tim Cornelius said that the firm has been “reassured” by confirmation that existing sources of European public funding for UK projects, including the next phase of the MeyGen project, would be unaffected by the Brexit vote.

“This preserves our opportunity to use this project to demonstrate the cost reducing innovations which are essential to allow tidal power to compete against longer established technologies.”

He added 2017 “promises to be a year of technological and geographical diversity and advancement” for the group.

The company has raised more than £10m from shareholders in two funding rounds in the last 14 months. It has also struck a number of deals paving the way for further investment in its UK portfolio with partners including Belgian marine engineering firm Deme which acquired a 2 per cent shareholding in Tidal Power Scotland (TPS), which holds Atlantis’s Scottish interests. ScottishPower Renewables also acquired a stake in TPS in exchange for the transfer of development rights for 110MW of further Scottish projects.

Earlier this year, Atlantis signed a preferred supplier agreement for a 150MW tidal-stream array in Lombok, Indonesia and announced its intention to pursue projects in France. Last month, the group signed a strategic partnership agreement with Hyundai Engineering and Construction for the development of ocean power renewable projects globally.