Welsh govt ready to help fund 320-MW tidal lagoon

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon model. Source: Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) Plc. License: All rights reserved.

January 11 (Renewables Now) - The Welsh government could provide a “substantial investment” for the 320-MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project, it was announced on Wednesday.

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has also sent a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, proposing to cover some of the project’s costs and urging the government to allow the project to move on.

Swansea Bay has been described as a "pathfinder" project that could open the way to larger tidal lagoons in the UK.

News portal WalesOnline reported on Wednesday that between GBP 100 million and GBP 250 million (USD 337.3m/EUR 282.3m) have been offered by the government to back the GBP-1.3-billion tidal project of developer Tidal Lagoon Power.

In January 2017, a report by former energy minister Charles Hendry concluded that tidal lagoons could play "a cost-effective role in the UK's energy mix and there is considerable value in a small pathfinder project".

The First Minister expressed concerns that the lack of a decision will “turn into a decision not to proceed” with the project. He also blamed the UK government for “dragging its heels” for over a year.

“This would be the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant, which would create thousands of high quality jobs, supply a significant proportion of the UK’s energy needs and position Britain as a world leader in a new global industry,” Jones said.

According to the project’s website, the Swansea bay complex will consist of 16 hydropower turbines that are expected to generate enough electricity for 155,000 homes over 120 years. Tidal Lagoon Power got a development consent order in 2015 but talks for a contract for difference (CfD) have been inconclusive. The project has also been delayed due to a big review of tidal lagoon technology, requested by the government.

The developer says on its website it could start on-site works on the 320-MW scheme in 2018.

(GBP 1.0 = USD 1.349/EUR 1.129)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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