Morgan Stanley-Backed Atlantis Plans $150 Million Tidal Project

Atlantis Resources Corp., an ocean- current turbine maker backed by Morgan Stanley, expects to spend $150 million on Asia’s first commercial plant to generate electricity jointly from the wind and tides.

“The current estimated capital expenditure for the first phase of 50 megawatts is $150 million,” Chief Executive Timothy Cornelius said in a telephone interview from Atlantis’s office in Singapore.

Atlantis, which also counts Norway’s Statkraft SF among its investors, signed an agreement last week with Gujarat Power Corporation to develop as much as 250 megawatts of tidal-current power. The company plans to launch tenders for components shortly for the first 50-megawatt plant, which should be completed by 2013, he said.

If successful, it may pave the way for similar wind-tidal projects in Canada and South Korea, he said.

Ocean currents, one of the largest untapped sources of renewable energy worldwide, may have the potential to produce 450 gigawatts of power, representing a $550 billion market, according to the American Council on Renewable Energy.

The company won a bid in the U.K. last year to build the world’s largest tidal-power project. It plans to use its 1- megawatt AK1000 turbine at the site.

Those turbines may be built in India, Cornelius said. Atlantis is in talks with Indian companies about setting up a plant to take advantage of local manufacturing capabilities in Gujarat because tidal power equipment shares much of the same technology used in the oil and wind industries, Cornelius said.

The northwestern Indian state is home to the world’s biggest oil refining complex owned by Reliance Industries Ltd. as well as a rotor-blade plant belonging to Suzlon Energy Ltd., the nation’s largest wind turbine maker.

Cornelius said more studies were needed to determine the cost of power from the project. The company says tidal power with economies of scale could be comparable with offshore wind.


Source: By Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg
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