Photo: L to R: Herve Morin, President of the Normandy Region; and Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis (Photo: SIMEC Atlantis Energy)

SIMEC Atlantis takes helm of Raz Blanchard tidal power quest

SIMEC Atlantis Energy has agreed terms for the collaboration with the French region of Normandy under a joint venture that will work to deliver a phased large-scale tidal power project in the Raz Blanchard strait.

The collaboration, which spawned the creation of Normandie Hydrolienne joint venture between SIMEC Atlantis, Development Agency for Normandy, and regional investment fund Normandie Participations, was formalized with the agreement signing ceremony between the parties on November 20, 2018.

As well as fostering the marine industry and local supply chain in Normandy region more generally, Normandie Hydrolienne will be specifically tasked with developing a multi hundred-megawatt tidal stream project in Raz Blanchard, according to the agreement.

The joint venture will now begin site development, permitting and consenting works to allow for the construction of a phased array of tidal energy projects at scale, according to SIMEC Atlantis.

Normandie Hydrolienne will aim to energize the first array of tidal energy turbines in 2021, before rolling out larger projects from 2022, SIMEC Atlantis said.

Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis, said: “This joint venture cements our place within the global race to bring tidal power to commercialization. Just as we led the development of our record-breaking MeyGen array in the Pentland Firth, we hope to channel our experience and unlock the potential of the French tidal energy industry.

“Normandy has all of the attributes required to deliver large scale tidal power projects – excellent natural resource in close proximity to load, available grid capacity, a feed-in-tariff, an established offshore energy supply chain and port facilities in Cherbourg and Le Have and access to EU funding.”

The ‘pipeline approach’ in Normandy, according to SIMEC Atlantis, will allow the company to work closely with supply chain partners to facilitate cost of energy reduction and, the fit out of turbine manufacturing facilities in either Cherbourg or Le Havre.

Majority-owned by SIMEC Atlantis, Normandie Hydrolienne will establish an operational presence in Normandy, and being workforce recruitment immediately, the company said.