SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (SAE) has installed its demo tidal turbine and generation equipment in Japanese waters near the Goto Island chain. The pilot turbine has generated 10 MWh in its first 10 days of operation. Supply and installation of the turbine were provided under a contract to a Japanese company Kyuden Mirai Energy.

The AR500 tidal turbine was made in Scotland at SAE’s facility at Nigg Energy Park in Cromarty Firth. It was installed between the islands of Naru and Hisaka in the Goto Island chain. The tidal turbine was assembled and tested in nine weeks before shipping to Japan. The turbine will operate at a reduced generation output of about 500 kW. It will provide data collection and validation capabilities to the client and Japanese regulatory bodies.

The process of installation involved laying of the cable, landing of the foundation structure and ballast to the sea floor, connection of the cable, and finally the installation of the turbine to the foundation. This offshore set up took about five days to complete.

SAE’s portfolio also includes the 398 MW MeyGen tidal stream project in Scotland, which is currently under development. The Atlantis turbine division is the amalgamation of two leading tidal turbine generation teams – the Marine Current Turbines SeaGen team and Atlantis Turbine and Engineering Services team – brought together via acquisition in 2015.

So far, ocean power development has been limited across the world and concentrated around Europe. According to Ren21’s report on global status of renewables, tidal stream devices generated 15 GWh of power in 2019 in Europe. As ocean energy is picking up, it is also seeing an uptake in Asian countries like Japan. In January 2021, Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines announced partnership with a company called Bombora Wave Power to look for potential project sites for wave energy in Japan and surrounding regions.