Atlantis to seek backing to extend tidal energy project

Tidal energy firm Atlantis Resources is to call on the UK government to open talks on support to enable it to press the button on the next stage of its world-leading MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth.

Atlantis Resources chief Tim Cornelius. Picture: Jon Savage

The move comes after the Edinburgh-headquartered firm lost out in a bid for subsidy backing in the latest contract for difference (CfD) auction round for major renewable energy projects.

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That round saw offshore wind a big winner with sites including the Moray East project in Scotland among the successful projects to bid for contracts at significantly lower prices than newer technologies.

As it unveiled interim results showing it had narrowed losses in the first six months of the year to £3.2 million compared to a £4.8m in the same perid last year, Atlantis said it intends to ask the UK government to “consider entering into bilateral negotiations with us for the award of a 15-year CfD”.

It said the support would enable it to proceed with the construction of “phase 1C” of its flagship MeyGen project without further delay.

Atlantis said the new additions to the UK’s generation portfolio under the latest CfD round were to be welcomed but that they “must be complemented by a more diverse basket of technologies”.

It said the funds were available to facilitate further contracts awards as 40 per cent of the £290m budget for the recent auction round was not allocated through the competitive process.

Yesterday Atlantis said it expects to complete the first phase of MeyGen project, when all four of its seabed turbines will be in operation, within weeks.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive, said the first half of 2017 had seen a “very positive step forward for Atlantis and its portfolio of projects”.

MeyGen’s phase 1A has already set a number of records for tidal energy projects. The second phase, which will see a further four turbines installed, has won funding from European Commission schemes.

According to yesterday’s figures, the group’s cash position at 30 June stood at some £6.9m, down from £10.2m at the end of last year.

Since then it has raised £5m through a five-year bond with proceeds to be used to fund project development activities across the Atlantis portfolio and to secure opportunities for growth in the UK and in overseas locations where he company is looking at projects including south-east Asia.