SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited, 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 and help to reduce the island’s current reliance on carbon intensive diesel generation.
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 electricity supply is currently provided entirely by diesel generation from the island’s power plant. Access to other sources of supply, such as the tidally generated power from the Normandie Hydroliennes array, is expected to help diversify and decarbonise Alderney’s energy mix, providing the potential for future economic growth without reliance on diesel.
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 decarbonise 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.
“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,” commented Tim Cornelius, CEO of SIMEC Atlantis. “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, added: “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.”