Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) – the company behind the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon proposal – has called the UK department of energy’s statement on tidal lagoons ‘deliberately misleading’ following the release of an audit into the government’s comments.
The audit, which has been peer-reviewed by the Centre for Economics & Business Research, covers the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) statement on tidal lagoons, alongside the department’s six page value-for-money assessment for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and a three page ‘fact sheet’.
The audited statement – delivered to Parliament on June 25, 2018 by the UK energy secretary Greg Clark, in which the government rejected the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon proposal on the basis that it does not meet the requirements for value for money – brought an end to 18 months of uncertainty which followed the government-commissioned review into tidal lagoons that supported the industry and urged the government to back the ‘pathfinder’ Swansea lagoon.
The key findings of the audit include the over-assessment of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon’s capital cost per unit of power generated vs that of Hinkley Point C made by BEIS, according to TLP, which proposes the actual costs for the lagoon are 1.5 times higher, and not 3 times as suggested by the department.
BEIS said it would cost only £400 million to secure the same power output from offshore wind as sourced from the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, but according to TLP, it would actually cost £1.5 billion.
Challenging the BEIS’s estimated that it would cost £31.5 billion less to secure the same amount of power from offshore wind as from a fleet of six tidal lagoons, TLP said it would actually cost £28.5 billon more when the fact that tidal lasts for 120 years is factored in.
BEIS’ inaction is still holding up tidal lagoons
The assessment, already submitted to BEIS, in part references a 2016 report by Aurora Energy Research on the impact of tidal lagoons on the Great Britain power market, TLP noted.
Keith Clarke, Tidal Lagoon Power’s Chair, said: “Readers of the audit can and will draw their own conclusions. Ours is that the BEIS statement on tidal lagoons was a manifest distortion of the truth.
“The audit demonstrates that the figures employed by BEIS to support its position on tidal lagoons are inaccurate by orders of magnitude, which raises serious questions about the approach taken and the conclusions drawn.
“BEIS’ inaction is still holding up tidal lagoons. The Department has not released a full and thorough value-for-money assessment for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, has not responded to the Hendry Review of tidal lagoons, and has continued to ignore our requests to meet with ministers for a fuller explanation of the position and approach taken.
“This is irresponsible and obstructs our appraisal of the options available to bring further funding into the business and to work up alternate approaches for delivering a pathfinder tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay without the award of a Contract for Difference from the UK government.”
The 320MW clean energy scheme planned for the Swansea Bay would comprise a six-mile breakwater wall and 16 hydro turbines capable of providing power for 155,000 of Welsh households.