Welsh tidal lagoon project wins support

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The £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Power project has been backed by a government-commissioned review.

The independent Hendry review said the technology’s “strong contribution” to the UK’s energy supply, would bring “significant economic opportunity” and going ahead should be seen as a “no regrets” policy.

Mr Hendry has also put the technology’s cost into context suggesting the costs per household would be around 30p per year over the first 30 years.

The proposed Swansea Bay project is being put forward as a ‘pathfinder’ project with supporters of the proposal claiming costs will fall significantly as further lagoons are built; potential sites for further lagoons around the UK include one off the coast of Cardiff, Newport, Bridgwater Bay in Somerset, Colwyn Bay and west Cumbria, north of Workington.

Some of the key points concluded in the review are:

  • Power from tidal lagoons could make a strong contribution to UK energy security
  • Moving ahead with a pathfinder lagoon is a ‘no-regrets’ policy
  • Provided lagoons can be constructed and operated with low levels of carbon dioxide emissions, “it is clear that they would contribute positively to progress towards the UK’s decarbonisation goals”
  • Overall, a tidal lagoon programme offers a significant economic opportunity for Wales and the UK
  • The potential impact on consumer bills of large scale tidal lagoons appears attractive, particularly when compared to nuclear projects over a long time period
  • The Government should require a high level of on-going monitoring of environmental impacts
  • A Tidal Power Authority should be established
  • A move to competition (for future projects), as soon as this can be effective, will deliver the most substantial cost reductions

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