AIM-listed Simec Atlantis Energy are one of the UK's leading renewable energy companies, with three divisions, Tidal, Thermal and Hydro. In a detailed interview CEO Tim Cornelius gave London South East a progress update on their two big projects, the MayGen tidal wave power scheme off the Caithness coast in the North of Scotland, and the Uskmouth coal to fuel pellet power station conversion scheme.
So where is the groundbreaking Uskmouth project at present? Bought in 2017 when Sanjeev Gupta bought 49% of the business, Uskmouth is only a few months from financial close. "We are unable to predict specifically when people will go back to work in Wales" said Tim. "However we anticipate early next year we will be in a position to achieve financial close and to commence construction." Combustion tests for the conversion scheme are 'ongoing' at Mitsubishi Hitachi's headquarters in Nagasaki.
"Luckily we were able to ship the very large amounts of pellets needed for the tests before lockdown so Covid has not impeded our testing programme". The Scottish MayGen tidal energy project has proved that turbines beneath the water can be a source of reliable electricity generation with 30 GWh soon to have been exported to the grid, sufficient to power 2,600 houses, and creating a pathway to 400 MegaWatts of output.
There are two possible routes forward for MayGen explained Tim. Scotland needs more digital infrastructure and a large Data Centre in Caithness has been proposed. "It needs 80 MegaWatts of electricity to run it and that can come from MayGen, created by 40 large turbines - enough energy to supply many homes". Secondly, the Government CfD subsidy scheme for renewable energy suppliers has another bi-annual auction for 15 year Government Contracts for Difference in 2021, and Tim is 'cautiously optimistic' about #SAE's chances.
The Government are proposing to put offshore wind in a different pot to give them a route to market. Inadvertently SAE might just get a route to market as well.