GE and Andritz Hydro to equip Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

General Electric and Andritz Hydro have been chosen to supply 16 bidirectional turbines for the GBP 1 bln Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.

Two companies have jointly secured GBP 300 mln worth contract, and have committed to use a majority of British large turbine components, British generators, and to perform assembly operations at Turbine Assembly Plant in Wales, which will create 100 jobs, Tidal Lagoon Power’s press release reads.

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said: “This project, if planning consent is granted, has the potential to transform the South Wales economy by creating hundreds of jobs and countless supply chain opportunities for local businesses across the region.”

The turbines will be based on Andritz Hydro technology.

Wolfgang Semper, CEO at Andritz Hydro, said: “The technical concept is based on decades of experience with similar equipment in low head power stations as well as managerial skills in handling very large projects to the optimum benefit in the project. With that our consortium provides the leadership and resources to make this world’s first tidal lagoon the footprint for a new UK industry.”

GE will manufacture and assemble key components in the UK. The project’s sixteen generators – the highest value component in the 700 tonne turbines – will be produced at GE’s Rugby facility, sustaining employment and investment there, it is stated in the press release.

In addition, GE is working on plans to potentially reshore its medium voltage switchboard operations for the UK tidal lagoon industry at its Kidsgrove facility, which could result in creating more jobs for the UK.

GE and Andritz Hydro will now conclude British supply contracts for turbine and generator components.

Working with the Welsh Government, Tidal Lagoon Power, developer of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, has shortlisted three potential sites in the Swansea Bay City Region (comprising Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire) for a 9.290 square metres Turbine Assembly Plant that will scale operations.

Initially employing 100 skilled workers and capable of shipping one 7.35 m diameter runner turbine a month, the facility is expected to scale operations by six times by 2018, shipping at least one turbine a week as the UK moves to the construction of full-scale tidal lagoons.

Mark Shorrock, CEO at Tidal Lagoon Power, stated: “Tidal lagoons will employ British industry to harness a British natural resource and return profits to British institutions. Now with GE and Andritz we will make the very most of the first-mover advantage on offer to Welsh and wider UK industry.”

General Electric and Andritz Hydro have also been selected as preferred bidders for the GBP 25 mln contract to manage the operations and maintenance of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon power plant for a minimum of five years.

Tidal Lagoon Power intends to follow the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, scheduled to commence construction later this year, with five full-scale tidal lagoons in UK waters. Between them, the six projects could provide 8% of the UK’s electricity for the next 120 years.

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