SIMEC Atlantis, via its joint venture Normandie Hydroliennes, has signed a heads of terms with Alderney Electricity Limited (AEL) to supply the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands with power from a proposed tidal array in the Raz Blanchard.
Normandie Hydroliennes is a joint venture with regional investment fund Normandie Participations and local manufacturer Efinor, through which Atlantis intends to develop, install, and operate a demonstration tidal array in the Raz Blanchard site off the coast of Normandy, France.
AEL is the principle energy provider for the Channel Island of Alderney, importing fuel oils and sole generator and distributor of electricity.
The heads of terms envisage that AEL and Normandie Hydroliennes will seek to 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. This is sufficient to meet the entire current energy demand of the island.
Atlantis is assessing options to ensure that the island’s electricity needs can be satisfied even during the short periods of slack tide when the tidal turbines will not be generating power.
Additionally, Atlantis and AEL intend to work together to identify opportunities to further decarbonize Alderney and create an environment for sustainable economic growth on the island.
Whilst there are no seabed development rights associated with this electricity supply agreement, it is hoped that by initially providing the island with sufficient tidal power to satisfy the majority of domestic use, this project may be a precursor to a larger scale array that the island of Alderney can develop in its territorial waters to export power to both the UK and Europe, Atlantis said.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis, said: “We are absolutely delighted to secure AEL as a customer for electricity generated from the powerful waters of the Raz Blanchard. 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. We subscribe to their vision of not only seeking to provide security of supply for the island, but also using this project as a model for other island communities seeking to decarbonize and provide new opportunities for economic resilience.
“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 , MD of Alderney Electricity Limited, stated: “Alderney’s economy has struggled in recent years but things are turning around fast; the place has a real buzz about it, so this news could not come at a better time. The team at Alderney Electricity, with the full support of the community, has worked hard in recent years to ensure that our energy assets are fit for the challenges ahead and we are looking forward to this next phase in our island’s development. For their part, SIMEC Atlantis Energy and their partners have gone above and beyond to understand what makes Alderney tick and getting to this point of common interest and aspiration has been easy.
“This is such a great opportunity, bringing so much potential it is difficult to know where to start. The benefits are immediate; halving the island’s carbon footprint, stable energy pricing and increased capacity. Much, much more than that, a fixed link to the continent gives our community the best possible platform for environmental, social, cultural and economic growth.
“Looking to the long term, 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.”