World’s first tidal lagoon power plant proposed at Swansea Bay in UK

10 February 2014 (Last Updated February 10th, 2014 18:30)

Tidal Lagoon Power is seeking approval for a £12bn project to develop a series of tidal energy plants in the UK that is claimed to be the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant.

Tidal Power

Tidal Lagoon Power is seeking approval for a £12bn project to develop a series of tidal energy plants in the UK that is claimed to be the world's first tidal lagoon power plant.

The company has submitted an application, following three years of feasibility work and impact assessments, to the UK Planning Inspectorate under the Planning Act 2008 to develop the scheme.

The Planning Inspectorate will review the application before public examination and the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change's determination.

Initially, the company will develop an £850m project at Swansea Bay and four more lagoons with a capacity of 7,300MW later, with an intention to supply 10% of the UK's domestic electricity by developing these five lagoons by 2023.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon calls for the construction of a 9.5km-long sea wall that will capture enough renewable energy from incoming and outgoing tides. Construction is expected to start in the first half of 2015 with first power generation set for 2018.

Spanning across of 11.5km² cordoned off by a breakwater, the Swansea Bay project will have an installed capacity of 320MW, generating 420GWh of electricity annually, which is enough to power more than 120,000 homes for 120 years.

"Had we invested in tidal lagoons in the 1980s, we would be generating cheaper power than any other form of supply."

Tidal Lagoon Power CEO Mark Shorrock said the second lagoon will need minimal support compared with offshore wind, for a renewable power supply that is both long-lived and certain, while the third will be competitive with the support received by new nuclear, but comes without the decommissioning costs and safety concerns.

The £2.3bn second project will be built in Colwyn Bay and the £4bn third one will be based in the upper Severn estuary, while the company is yet to specify the locations for the remaining two projects being built at a cost of £4.5bn.

"Had we invested in tidal lagoons in the 1980s, by now, and into the next century, we would be generating cheaper power than any other form of supply," said Shorrock.

The company, alongside a consortium of businesses including Atkins, Costain, GE, Alstom, Andritz and Voith, has spent three years developing its proof-of-concept project, while it has the commitment of Macquarie to lead the capital financing of the project itself.


Image: Proposed Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay project. Photo: courtesy of Tidal Lagoon Power.

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