Government to back plans for £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Government to back plans for £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

By GCR Staff0 CommentsPlans to generate 320MW of electricity from a $1.6bn tidal lagoon in south Wales have been supported by a review commissioned by the United Kingdom government.

The UK Government commissioned an independent review into tidal lagoon technology in May 2016 to determine how it could "contribute to the future of the UK's energy mix in the most cost effective way".

But Hendry said he believed the evidence was clear that tidal lagoons could be cost-effective and affordable.

Chief executive Mark Shorrock was enthusiastic about the conclusions by former energy minister Mr Hendry.

Labour shadow business secretary Clive Lewis said there were "high hopes that tidal energy will get cheaper fast, as we've seen in other renewable technologies".

Dr Athanasios Angeloudis, from Imperial College London's Department of Earth Science and Engineering, also commented: "The UK is blessed with some of the largest tidal energy resources in the world and this outcome should be seen as a landmark step towards making the first significant contribution to the national electricity mix from this sustainable energy source".

By shutting the gates to the lagoon for just three hours, operators would be able to create a 14ft height difference between the water on either side.

The scheme, led by developer Tidal Lagoon Power, will comprise hydro turbines spread over a six mile breakwater wall, generating electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.

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It was "beyond question" that the scheme would stimulate economic regeneration in the economically depressed south Wales region, or that the lagoon's price was particularly attractive when compared with nuclear power, and also that a new regulatory authority should be set up to oversee the fledgling tidal power industry.

After Swansea Bay, the company plans to submit planning applications for Cardiff and Newport projects.

The 16 turbines that will harness the tidal power in Swansea are 7.5m in diameter, and 76m in length.

It has been repeatedly rejected as too costly and environmentally damaging.

According to Hendry, the costs of a pathfinder project - nearly certain to be located at Swansea, where Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) has been developing plans - would be about 30p per household per year for the first 30 years. In total, the United Kingdom could accommodate 18 gigawatts of tidal lagoon capacity, according to the report.

A lagoon would not block the estuary like a barrage, and it would generate low-carbon electricity in a predictable way according to the tides over a long time-frame.

There have been concerns about costs, with the Swansea Bay project needing capital of £1.3 billion, although the review seems to lay those to rest to some extent.

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK? The technology is created to last, with the aforementioned plant life expectancy of 120 years, and no major refurbishments anticipated for the first 50 years of operation.

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