Government backs plans for £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Caitlin Morrison
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(FILES) Picture taken 20 April 2006 show
The proposed tidal lagoon could provide energy for 1.5m homes (Source: Getty)

Plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay have been backed by a government-funded review.

The tidal lagoon has been in the pipeline for the last few years. It is to consist of 90 turbines in a 14 mile breakwater, and over the next 120 years could supply energy for 1.5m homes. It ties into wider plans for the government to build six tidal lagoon power plants across the UK.

Former UK energy minister Charles Hendry has published his report on the viability of the renewable energy technology. He has been conducting an independent inquiry over the last year.

"If you look at the cost spread out over the entire lifetime - 120 years for the project - it comes out at about 30p per household for the next 30 years," he said.

"That's less than a pint of milk. That's where I think we can start a new industry and we can do it at an affordable cost to consumers."

RenewableUK's chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “It’s great to have this ringing endorsement of innovative technology and modern industry. The world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay can provide power for our national energy needs and create local jobs for decades to come."

Government should finalise negotiations so that work can start on this important infrastructure project as soon as possible.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable electricity company Good Energy, said: “By kicking off a British tidal lagoon industry we are presenting the world with another awesome low carbon option, and its British know-how that will be called upon should other countries look to take up that option.

“Tidal lagoons are a brilliant way for Britain to diversify its energy mix and keep the lights on. They will also create a whole new industry and thousands of jobs as well.”

The UK government still needs to agree on a deal for the tidal lagoon and the project would also need a marine licence.

The Swansea Bay project has come in for criticism in the past - in 2015 Citizens Advice slammed the proposed tidal lagoon for being "appalling value for money".

“Given the huge cost and lack of countervailing benefits of the project, the outcome of the process should be to reject the application unless there is significant change from the prices and benefits currently in the public domain,” the consumer group said.

Prudential's investment arm, M&G, is the cornerstone investor in the project.

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