Capital’s Atlantis Energy powers up in Wales

Tim Cornelius is the Edinburgh-headquartered group's chief executive. Picture: Jon Savage
Tim Cornelius is the Edinburgh-headquartered group's chief executive. Picture: Jon Savage
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The Edinburgh-based energy pioneer behind the MeyGen tidal project in the Pentland Firth has given a 20-year life extension to a Welsh power station after embarking on an ambitious conversion programme.

Simec Atlantis Energy described the plans to convert the Uskmouth power plant from coal to 100 per cent waste derived generation as “ground-breaking”.

The firm, formerly known as Atlantis Resources, said that following the conversion, the station would supply some 220 megawatts of power to the grid using an “end-of-waste” energy pellet.

The transformation of the facility is expected to take 18 months following the completion of an engineering and design phase, with a target of first production in the closing months of 2020. The converted station will have an operational life of 20 years.

In an operational update, the Scots firm said that successful milling trials had been conducted on “subcoal” pellets using roller mills in Germany. The pellets, which are made from a combination of biogenic waste and non-recyclable plastic, will replace coal-fired generation at Uskmouth.

The group said that since the acquisition of the power station on 15 June, it has completed a number of steps including appointing Ernie Rowe as head of conversion at Uskmouth.

It noted that planning and site environmental permit work for the conversion was “progressing well”, including working closely with Dutch fuel pellet supplier N+P Group for the design and build of pellet production facilities at the project site.

Simec Atlantis Energy (SAE) is already having talks with plant owners and operators in Europe, Australia, Asia and the US with a view to undertaking similar work to extend the economic life of power generation facilities elsewhere.

Chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “The Uskmouth conversion project has a 20-year power purchase agreement and a 20-year fuel supply agreement in place and will have a lower levelized cost of generation which will allow us to deliver high margins on power sales. This should be a very profitable project for the SAE Group once it is operational in 2020.

“This project will be the catalyst for further conversions throughout Europe as SAE seeks to establish itself as a leading independent sustainable energy generation company.

“Cash flow generated from high margin projects such as Uskmouth will allow us to fund growth through carefully selected and executed acquisitions in addition to our existing portfolio of in-house developments and organic growth opportunities.”

Adam Forsyth, alternative energy and resource research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said: “Simec Atlantis has updated on progress at the Uskmouth project and we think it is good to see that the company is progressing on several fronts following the acquisition of the plant.

“In particular, the hiring of a head of conversion with experience at the Drax power station gives us comfort that the process is well led. We reiterate our ‘buy’ recommendation.”

SAE is now part of the business empire of industrial magnate ­Sanjeev Gupta.