Simec Atlantis joins Alderney Electricity to develop tidal power source

Alderney Electricity (AEL) has signed heads of terems with Simec Atlantis Energy (via its joint venture Normandie Hydroliennes) to supply the Channel Island  with power from a proposed tidal array and reduce the island’s reliance on diesel generation.

The heads of terms envisage that AEL and Normandie Hydroliennes will enter into a 25-year power purchase agreement under which AEL would purchase a minimum of 5GWh of electricity per year from Normandie Hydroliennes at a fixed price – enough to meet the island’s power demand.

Normandie Hydroliennes is a joint venture with regional investment fund Normandie Participations and local manufacturer Efinor. It plans to install and operate a demonstration tidal array in the Raz Blanchard site off the coast of Normandy, France.

There are no seabed development rights associated with this electricity supply agreement, it is hoped that it will be a precursor to a larger scale array that the island of Alderney can develop in its territorial waters to export power to the UK and Europe.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Simec Atlantis, said, “This is the first, important step in unlocking the vast economic potential of the tidal flows around the Channel Islands and it has taken the forward-thinking management of AEL to make this happen…

“Working with our project partners in France and making use of all of the experience garnered from operating the world’s largest tidal array in Scotland, we hope to make Alderney a flagship example of the Blue Economy at work. This will involve harnessing the vast power of the ocean in an environmentally responsible way in partnership with the local community. We hope that this project will be a blue print for other island nations around the world in due course”

James Lancaster, managing director of Alderney Electricity, said, “…the Normandie Hydroliennes trial sites will be the first physical installation of tidal turbines in local waters and a necessary first step if the Alderney community is ever going to realise the full potential of our biggest asset, becoming a net exporter of green, clean energy.”