May 9 (Renewables Now) - UK green energy supplier Ecotricity has proposed to build two tidal lagoons in the Solway Firth to match the expected output of the 320-MW Swansea Bay project but at half the cost to build.
The company is ready to take part in a competitive process “to ensure value for public money”, it said today, explaining that siting the lagoons offshore instead of onshore allows it to offer “the superior economics”. The firm worked together with Tidal Electric to develop the Solway Firth plans, which envisage one tidal lagoon on the English side of the border and one on the Scottish side.
“The government has done well to resist the last couple of years of intense lobbying pressure from backers of the Swansea scheme, there was never a case for paying that much or for moving too quickly to allow for proper competition,” commented Ecotricity founder Dale Vince.
In addition to being less costly to build, offshore lagoons also operate more efficiently and have lower environmental impact, the company noted. It has shared information on the topic with former energy minister Charles Hendry when he worked on the independent review of tidal lagoons, but the offshore concept and its inherent advantages were not mentioned in the final report.
The announcement by the company comes ahead of a joint select committee review of the Swansea Bay proposal by Tidal Lagoon Power and the related decision making process.