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Pioneering the New Energy Journey

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Pioneering the New Energy Journey

An update from our CEO, Graham Reid:

With so many of our projects approaching important milestones I thought it would be useful to provide a more regular update. Since joining at the start of the year I am constantly impressed by the dedication and delivery of the team. When developing projects it can sometimes feel that progress is slow but by shining a light on all that we have been up to I hope we can demonstrate the huge effort that is going in to deliver these pioneering projects and technologies. To help bring this journey to life I will be posting more pictures and stories on my social media channels.

Graham Reid on Twitter

Sustainable Fuel Pellet Conversion

SWIC Decarbonisation Project Update

In March, we announced our role in the South Wales Industrial Cluster, which was awarded £20m funding from Innovate UK for a project to explore routes to decarbonising the region. We are pleased to say that work has already begun at Uskmouth with a view to utilising the much-reduced emissions, at the soon to be converted power station, for wider purposes. Delivering carbon capture, storage and usage, would move the project into negative CO2 emissions and create a new industry for the region. We are excited to carry on these studies in support of Wales on its journey to net zero, and in doing so create sustainable jobs for the region.

Planning Update

Following the announcement by the Welsh Government to “call in” our planning application, we will shortly be submitting a statement of case to them. This statement will underline our rationale for the planning application, what we are seeking planning consent for, and reiterate what consents, as an existing power station, we already have. We will also be explaining why converting the Uskmouth power station to run on a sustainable, lower carbon fuel will not only benefit the local area, but Wales as a whole. The statement of case will be submitted by the end of May.

Permitting Update

Following the submission of our permit application and Schedule 5 responses to Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the permit deliberation process continues. NRW is now engaging with internal and external consultees to assess the information provided. The ongoing engagement with NRW is positive and we are confident that we have provided a robust application and are on track for a decision in Q3 this year.

N+P Group B.V.

We would like to congratulate our fuel partners, N+P Group B.V. on their strategic partnership with Mercuria Energy Trading. The partnership will inject significant growth capital into N+P and allow for the development of new alternative fuel production facilities. The first of the N+P pelleting plants is making great progress and will begin operation in the near future. N+P and SIMEC Atlantis Energy (SAE) are 50:50 partners in NPA Fuels, a partnership which will be supplying the Uskmouth Conversion Project with a sustainable fuel derived from non-recyclable waste and biogenic material.

Tidal Energy Projects

MeyGen Phase 2

The UK Government is intending to implement allocation round 4 (AR4) of the contract for difference (CFD) regime in the late summer of this year. SAE will be putting forward phase 2 of our MeyGen project. The current MeyGen project is the largest in the world, with the most powerful single turbines operating in the world. The next phase will really put tidal energy on the map. Phase 2 is the largest consented tidal project in the world, and we are looking at installing even bigger and more powerful turbines. The project is perfectly placed to deliver, and in the year when the UK hosts COP26, we hope that we are in a position to demonstrate the huge potential of tidal, tidal generation systems, current projects, and the vital role tidal must play if we are to meet net zero.

The Launch of our AR500 Tidal Turbine

In January we successfully launched the AR500 tidal turbine in Japan. The Scottish built turbine is rated at 500kW and was installed in the Naru Strait in the Goto island chain. Soon after installation the turbine clocked its first 10MWh of generation and continues to live up to expectations by generating consistently. Throughout the project, we have received great support from Kyuden Mirai Energy as well as a consortium of local and international stakeholders.

To give an idea of some of the finer details, we have compiled a few pieces of data:

  • An estimated 70,000 hours of work went into the project, from initial consultations, all the way through to installation and operation.
  • The turbine travelled around 13,500 miles from Scotland to its installation site in Japan.
  • The duration between the beginning of the project and the moment of first power generated was 1 year 4 months and 7 days.
  • To get the turbine assembled and tested, ready for transport from Scotland, took 9 weeks.
  • It only took 5 days to complete all offshore operational work, this included cable laying, installing the foundation, connecting the cable, and installing the turbine.

The Raz Blanchard Project

The Raz Blanchard tidal turbine demonstration array is a project located in French territorial waters between Alderney and France. The project will consist of four turbines connected through a subsea hub, like the one installed recently at our MeyGen site. By utilising the subsea hub technology, we will be able to reduce the number of export cables from four to one single cable, substantially reducing both the offshore installation costs and the environmental impact of the array. The overall design of the array will use knowledge and expertise gleaned from the deployment of the MeyGen array and the AR500 tidal turbine in Japan.

The project is making great progress as it looks to vary the existing site consents and permits to enable deployment of the next generation of SAE’s tidal turbine technology. For the next phase of our tidal turbine, we are working on how we can increase overall efficiency, as well as reducing the levelised cost of energy (LCOE).

Additional offshore site surveys are planned in the coming months. These will allow for more detailed resource modelling for a more site-specific design.

The image above shows la Baie d’Ecalgrain where the cable landing will be.

Hydro

The SAE hydro team is making excellent progress on the construction of the interlinked hydro projects, Loch Etive and Glen Kinglass. With the sites nearing completion, we are aiming to commission the projects in the coming weeks. Once commissioned, the SAE Operations and Maintenance team will take over the day-to-day management of the schemes.

The team is busy restoring the site to allow the projects to blend in with the surrounding area. This is an especially important task in any hydro project as it allows the projects to become a part of the local landscape. An effective restoration phase is vital, as it is the key factor that the public and statutory consultees will use to define whether the project has been successful.

The construction phase of these projects has employed a large number of workers across the highlands, and has made a very positive contribution to the local economy. As the projects become operational, they will allow investment in the local area by the use of the community benefit payments that have been committed to, whilst also playing a pivotal role in moving away from fossil fuels.