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Atlantis helping to open up China’s 8.2GW tidal stream renewable power potential


In the space of just 18 months, a significant milestone has been achieved in the race to harness the global potential of tidal stream energy. SIMEC Atlantis Energy (“Atlantis”), through its partnership with ITPEnergised, has worked with The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (“CSIC”) and China Three Gorges (“CTG”) to develop CTG’s first SG500kW tidal stream turbine. The mammoth structure, with a rotor diameter of 18 meters, was installed between the islands of Putuoshan and Huludao in the Zhoushan archipelago in China in the past week.

The success of this project is made all the more impressive given the extraordinary circumstances in which the turbine was manufactured. CSIC’s facilities in Wuhan have in recent months had to deal with being at the centre of the outbreak of the coronavirus and have dealt with the logistical challenges that this presented with extreme professionalism. While following all government advice concerning social distancing as well as the regulations concerning manufacturing facilities, CSIC has been successful, with the turbine now fully installed.

Tidal energy in China

China is currently working to cut its coal consumption which, with fossil fuel accounting for just under 60% of the country’s overall energy consumption, is a huge challenge. Its strict 2015 Paris climate change commitments have been met, reflecting domestic political desire to respond to environmental concerns and address urban pollution. As such, the country is actively seeking out renewable investment opportunities, with studies estimating that tidal stream energy in China could supply more than 8.2GW to the country’s grid.


Driving the global market

Atlantis’ flagship MeyGen project, the world’s largest operational tidal stream array, has provided the operational experience and performance data to export the Company’s expertise and technology to the world. Over the past two years, Atlantis has expanded its global portfolio of tidal projects; from the tidal array development activities in Normandy, France to supporting the development of the Nautilus tidal energy project in Indonesia. More recently, Atlantis announced that it is supplying tidal generation equipment and offshore construction services for a tidal demonstration project in Japan.


A Scottish success

These developments represent a significant company achievement, and they are also testament to the success of the larger tidal industry in Scotland. Holyrood has been crucial to the success of the Scottish renewables industry with the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund just one example of how the Scottish Government is fostering innovative renewable energy businesses and unlocking their potential for global expansion.


The natural resource and commercial opportunity China represents for the tidal stream power industry cannot be overstated. This opening up of a vast international market will have profound implications for supply chain and cost reduction developments, which will be felt across the entire renewables and wider energy sector.


Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive of SIMEC Atlantis Energy, said:

“Atlantis can be extremely proud of the role we played in this project. The fast execution, from concept design to installation, represents a phenomenal feat of engineering that bodes well for a rapid future roll-out of tidal power in China, which in turn will have material cost reduction implications globally.


“MeyGen has demonstrated the true potential of tidal energy and has de-risked the market to the extent that we are now exporting knowhow and equipment internationally, with China the latest market to open in Asia.”