Scottish tidal firm fails over Canada setback

SME developed a tidal system

A Scottish renewables company, backed by Scottish Enterprise, has been placed into administration as a result of problems with its Canadian subsidiary.

Edinburgh-based Sustainable Marine Energy (SME), developed tidal energy systems and last year its Canadian business was successful in harnessing tidal currents in the country’s Bay of Fundy, in Nova Scotia, using its innovative, floating platform. 

However, in May this year the Canadian business was placed into an insolvency process due to permitting issues with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), resulting in the suspension of its operations in Canada. The Edinburgh firm has now followed.

In April 2019 the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) committed £1m to the firm as part of a £3.6m funding round. SIB is now the Growth Investments team within Scottish Enterprise following the launch of the arms-length Scottish National Investment Bank.

Graeme Bain, restructuring director at Johnston Carmichael, said: “SME has been a leading developer of tidal energy solutions for several years and had demonstrated the value of that development through the successful implementation of its innovative PLAT-I platform in Canada. 

“The difficult decision was made by the UK-based company to enter administration due to the impact caused by the recent insolvency of its Canadian subsidiary in May.

“In conjunction with our Energy, Infrastructure & Sustainability team of sector experts, an assessment of the potential future viability of the current Canadian project will be undertaken and, with the potential for the application of its technology in other parts of the world, interest will also be sought for the company’s intellectual property in due course.”

A small number of jobs in the UK have been lost as a result of the company having ceased to trade.”

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