Swansea Bay tidal lagoon gets an official ‘no’

Artist's impression - Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon (Image: Tidal Lagoon Power)

The UK government has rejected the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon proposal, stating that it does not meet the requirements for value for money.

The UK government’s decision not to support the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project – proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power – was unveiled by the UK energy secretary Greg Clark during his address to the House of Commons on June 25, 2018.

The decision comes 18 months after the release of the government-commissioned review of tidal lagoon industry, known as the Hendry Review, which backed the wider tidal lagoon industry, as well as the ‘pathfinder’ Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.

Announcing the UK’s government decision, Greg Clark said:

“Britain’s energy policy towards electricity generation is based on meeting three needs: ensuring that we can count on secure and dependable supplies of electricity at all times, minimizing the cost of supplies to consumers and taxpayers, and meeting our GHG emission reduction obligations.

“To these three requirements, we’ve added through our Industrial Strategy, a further ambition: to secure long-term economic benefit in terms of jobs and prosperity from decisions that we take.

“It is in this context that the government has assessed whether we should commit consumer or taxpayer funds to the program of six tidal lagoons proposed by Tidal Lagoon Power – the first being the proposed project in Swansea.

“The conclusion of this analysis – which has been shared with the Welsh government – is that the project and proposed program of lagoons do not meet the requirements for value for money, and so it would not be appropriate to lead the company to believe that public funds can be justified.”

“Taking all the costs together, I have been advised by analysts that, by 2050, the proposal that has been made – which would generate around 30 TWh per year of electricity – could cost up to £20 billion more to produce compared to generating that same electricity through a mix of offshore wind and nuclear, once financing, operating, and system costs have been taken into account.”

Commenting on the UK’s government decision, the Founder and Chief Executive of Tidal Lagoon Power, Mark Shorrock, said:

“The Secretary of State is clearly misinformed as his briefing today was very misleading. He says Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will cost three times nuclear. This is incorrect. Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will add just 30 pence to consumers’ bills whereas Hinkley Point C will add £12 or more to bills.

“The offer to the UK Government for Swansea is AT THE SAME PRICE as nuclear for a small pathfinder which as he acknowledges is 0.15% of the UK’s energy requirements. The UK’s second proposed tidal lagoon at Cardiff would be 88 times less expensive for consumers than Hinkley. Furthermore, the £1.3 billion build cost of Swansea is privately funded. It is NOT a cost to consumers as suggested by Mr Clark.

“This is a vote of no interest in Wales, no confidence in British manufacturing and no care for the planet. Justified through a faux concern for consumers who would readily invest in a British tidal power industry for today and for future generations.”

The 320MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon – designed to last for 120 years – would be capable of generating clean electricity for 155,000 Welsh homes.

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