Tidal lagoons could bring significant economic benefits to the UK (Source: Reuters)
The development of tidal lagoons as a source of electricity could bring significant economic benefits to the UK.
Currently, none of the UK's electricity is generated using tidal lagoons, but a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research proposes a 12-year roll-out of six tidal lagoons that could contribute £27bn to UK GDP and create as many as 71,000 new jobs.
Tidal lagoons work by closing off an area of tidal sea and using the movement of sea water through hydro turbines to produce electricity. They could also offer a permanent solution to the coastal flooding problems that have been endured in areas near where lagoons are planned.
The report suggests that the national roll-out of tidal lagoons could create or sustain an annual average of 36,000 jobs over a 12-year investment horizon, the majority of which would be generated in the more economically disadvantaged parts of the UK where the lagoons will be built, and that the development of tidal lagoons could position the United Kingdom as a world leader in a global tidal power industry which is calculated to be worth some £383 billion in investment.
Once fully operational, the lagoons could contribute £3.1 billion in GDP annually over the 120-year design life and could produce enough energy to power almost 8 million homes.
New forms of energy needed
With the amount of energy needed to drive the UK set to increase considerably between 2020 and 2030, new sources of renewable energy must be found.
According to the report, tidal lagoons would generate eight per sent of the UK's electricity by as soon as 2027, helping us to shift from non-renewable sources of energy to renewable sources.
Positive impact on trade
It is thought that by 2030, the lagoons would have contributed £3.24bn to UK trade, and £3.79bn by 2040.
This positive impact would be driven largely by tidal lagoon industry exports: it is predicted that these would bring £3.11bn to the economy by 2040.
“The UK will soon decide whether or not to embrace tidal lagoon infrastructure. Having analysed all of the costs and all of the savings associated with this decision, this study clearly demonstrates that the annual benefits to the national economy would be enormous, immediate and long-lived,” said Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power.
“To realise this opportunity in full, we will have to marry economic benefit with environmental sensitivity and social acceptance. Our proposals for Swansea Bay have proved that this can be done and establish a blueprint for an infrastructure roll-out that we now know could account for ten percent or more of UK growth.”