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MeyGen tidal energy equipment to be installed in Japan

By Gordon Calder

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TIDAL energy equipment, based on the MeyGen model in Caithness, is due to be installed at a site in Japan next month.

The equipment, designed on the AR1500 turbine used in the MeyGen tidal array in the Pentland Firth, was built by Simec Atlantis Energy – the company behind the pioneering Caithness scheme – and has arrived in Nagasaki harbour.

It will be transported by support vessels to the deployment site in the Naru Strait, located between the islands of Naru and Hisaka in the Goto Island chain.

The equipment will initially operate at a capped maximum generation output of 500 kilowatts, as data collection (performance and environment) and device validation are undertaken for the client and Japanese regulatory bodies.

Simec director, Drew Blaxland, said: "Given the obvious challenges Covid presented during the turbine building programme in Scotland this year and the logistical challenges presented during transit more recently, we have still managed to deliver a turbine quayside in Japan before Christmas. To see this machine arrive in Japan, a first of its kind there, is a great achievement.Our focus now is in getting the power export cable, foundation and turbine nacelle installed safely, then we all look forward to this Scottish built turbine delivering predictable, sustainable renewable energy for Japan post commissioning."

Meanwhile, Simec Atlantis is looking forward to what promises to be "an exciting 2021 for the company, full of major project milestones and new investment opportunities," according to chief executive, Tim Cornelius.

He was speaking after the company put in place what he described as "a war chest" to capitalise on "new opportunities next year."

Simec Atlantis has entered into an agreement with New Technology Capital Group, a US-based investor, to raise up to £12,000,000. An initial investment of £2 million is to be made for new shares.

Mr Cornelius said: "This facility is a prudent way of ensuring that we have access to a pool of capital now and are not left second guessing what will happen with equity capital markets post-Brexit in 2021. To be working with a US institutional investor for the first time since our long-standing relationship with Morgan Stanley demonstrates the appetite new investors have for exposure to our flagship projects.

"It can be used to make new investments across our existing portfolio and to take advantage of possible new opportunities we believe may materialise over the next 12 months, creating value for shareholders."

He added: "We were highly encouraged to hear the government’s positive comments around tidal stream and the role it can play in a sustainable and low carbon energy grid moving forward. As an industry leader, we remain firmly committed to the commercialisation of competitively priced tidal energy throughout the UK via our world leading MeyGen project, which is ready for expansion if provided with the right government support. We also want to ensure that we remain at the forefront of any new opportunities for large scale tidal project development or equipment and services sales opportunities in new markets including France, Japan and Indonesia which we are working on at present."

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