The UK has given planning consent for a £1bn power project in Swansea Bay, Wales.
Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has given permission for the project, which is in line with the country’s aim to focus on a low-carbon, home-grown energy mix.
Construction on the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay project is likely to start next year.
The project is expected to have a generation capacity of 320MW. It is subject to Contract for Difference (CfD) negotiations, which will be conducted to determine its affordability and value for money.
The UK Government is likely to guarantee pricing for power generation at the facility for an initial period of 35 years following the CfD negotiations.
Once operational by 2019, it will help in reducing more than 236,000 tons of CO2 emissions in the country annually over an estimated operational life of 120 years.
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The project will generate 500GWh of clean and carbon-free electricity annually for more than 155,000 households by capturing high tides and releasing it through the turbines.
The UK’s not-for-profit renewable energy trade association RenewableUK has identified six lagoon locations across the country which, when developed, will be able to meet up to 8% of its total power requirements. These sites also have potential to add approximately £27bn to UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2027.
RenewableUK deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: "As a maritime nation, we are perfectly placed to take advantage of the powerful tides surging around our coasts every day, which have great potential to generate increasingly significant quantities of renewable electricity."
"Today’s announcement is a major step towards harnessing this untapped energy source on an unprecedented scale, providing clean electricity to the nation for generations to come."
European network of ocean energy professionals with utilities, industrialists and research institutes, Ocean Energy Europe, has also welcomed the decision.
Ocean Energy Europe CEO Rémi Gruet said: "Tidal power is an essential second generation renewable technology, necessary to decarbonise our energy mix, create a new industrial sector and balance the grid.
"Once the concept has been proven at Swansea, a pipeline of projects will provide significant amounts of jobs and growth in the UK and in other areas of Europe."
Image: The tidal project with an installed capacity of 320MW is expected to be commissioned by 2019. Photo: courtesy of Good Energy.