During his visit to Newport last week, the head of the Government’s independent review of tidal lagoon power, Charles Hendry, was presented with the potential economic and environmental benefits the construction of tidal lagoons could bring to steelmaking and other industries in South Wales.
The former energy minister visited the Liberty Steel Newport plant, which was reopened last October, saving 170 jobs, and which is now earmarked for major growth, powered by tidal and other forms of renewable energy, according to Liberty House Group.
During his visit to the steelworks and to SIMEC’s neighbouring Uskmouth Power Station, Hendry viewed the sites of the potential Newport and Cardiff Tidal Lagoons, both of which are located in the Severn Estuary close to these large industrial operations.
Liberty House Group Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, outlined the company’s GREENSTEEL vision to Hendry and his tidal lagoon review team.
This involves the creation of a fully-integrated industry that makes steel by recycling locally-sourced scrap in electric arc furnaces powered by renewable energy, and then turning the steel into a wide range of engineered products for UK and export markets.
Gupta said: “Tidal lagoon power provides the perfect catalyst to make the GREENSTEEL model work. Not only does it provide clean, reliable and low-cost energy for current and future generations, but the creation of lagoons stimulates ongoing demand for turbines and a whole host of steel products, which in turn will generate thousands of skilled jobs in Welsh and UK steel, engineering and manufacturing sectors.”
Liberty is a major investor in Tidal Lagoon plc which is aiming to bring forward a series of tidal energy projects in Wales and the wider UK, following the building of a pilot lagoon at Swansea Bay.
Hendry’s review will assess the strategic case for tidal lagoons and whether they could play a cost-effective role as part of the UK energy mix. The review will also help establish an evidence base for all decisions regarding tidal lagoon energy.
Its findings are expected to be announced before the end of the year and will influence the decision on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which in turn will trigger future lagoon projects in the Severn Estuary and elsewhere around the UK coast, Liberty Group said.
During the visit to the steelworks and power station Hendry also met Newport City Council leaders Councillor Debbie Wilcox and Chief Executive, Will Godfrey.