Concerns raised over technology for Swansea Bay project

A Conwy councillor and former chairman of the North Wales, Stuart Anderson, questions the technology to be used for the planned tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, South Wales.

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has been listed in the National Infrastructure Plan 2014, published by HM Treasury, and as announced earlier, the UK Government will start discussions with Tidal Lagoon Power in order to determine if the building of the tidal lagoon power plant in Swansea Bay is affordable.

It is estimated that the tidal lagoons could bring up to GBP 5 bln of investments to Wales.

However, concerns have been raised over GBP 1 bln project, mainly in regards to the turbine technology. More specifically, over single turbines that can be adapted to work two ways, because the intention of Tidal Lagoon Power is to generate electricity from the Swansea bay tidal lagoon from both the ebb tide and the flood tide.

Stuart Anderson said for the Wales Online: “The single turbine can be adapted to work two ways, but very imperfectly, and that’s what I would call a hand-me-down technology, rather than 21st century optimisation. It would be a terrific shame to spend something like GBP 1 bln on a pilot scheme without spending GBP 50 mln to get the technology perfected to the point which could help future schemes in the UK.”

According to Wales Online, Ton Fijen, technical director of Tidal Lagoon Power, said that the turbine manufacturers have managed to develop a turbine that delivers 81 percent efficiency on the flood tide, and 93 percent efficiency on the ebb tide. He added that these results, which were announced after running a tender process, helped the project to secure the support from institutional investors.

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Tidal Energy Today Staff; Image: Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay/Illustration

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