Swansea Council has decided to move forward with the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project. Swansea Bay City Region has issued a Prior Invitation Notice (PIN) to gauge the interest from the private sector, as it concluded that the development of a tidal lagoon needs to be led by the private sector and without the reliance on government or local government subsidy.
The conclusion, as well as the PIN, are a result of a three-month re-evaluation of the project and investigation of alternative options for its delivery, which was done by a taskforce set up by Swansea Bay City Region.
The PIN states the Swansea Bay City Region is seeking a partner or partners to undertake the delivery of the development, either through a partner development arrangement or joint venture.
The fundamental requirement of this project is to be ‘stand alone’, requiring no form of subsidy. However, the Welsh Government has indicated that it is prepared to make a significant investment alongside an appropriate institutional partner/investor.
The partner or partners will be required to conclude the detailed planning, design and licencing, obtain all appropriate permissions and secure funding for the realisation of the lagoon. The project will involve a strategic review of the overall project, design work; development of business and project plans; securing of necessary investment, construction and operation.
The decision to move forward with the project with the help from the private sector follows the UK Government’s decision not to support previous proposals put forward by Tidal Lagoon Power for a £1.3bn project.
“Despite the UK Government not supporting Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposals, we want to deliver this ground-breaking project in Swansea Bay,” said Rob Stewart, Chair of the taskforce and Leader of Swansea Council. “We’ve spent the past three months re-evaluating the project and agreeing the best way to structure a deal that will deliver a tidal lagoon.”
“Unlike the previous proposal, we believe it should be a private sector-led development that doesn’t rely on government or local government subsidy to pay for it. That’s why we’re now testing the market to see which companies are interested in helping to deliver the lagoon. This could range from large financial institutions who want to invest in the project to major construction companies who want to build the lagoon,” Stewart explained.
“Once we know the type and level of interest from the private sector, we can consider the best route to take to ensure we deliver this project and pave the way for a new industry where Swansea Bay, Wales and the UK can be a global leader,” Rob Stewart concluded.