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World's first tidal lagoon power station gets government support in Wales

The company behind it says the station would generate electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.

Artist's impression
Artist's impression
Image: Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay/Facebook

PLANS FOR THE world’s first tidal lagoon power station have been backed by a government-commissioned report in Wales.

The review, led by former energy minister Charles Hendry, said the £1.3 billion (about €1.49 billion) project could make a “strong contribution” to Britain’s energy supply.

The station would comprise 16 hydro turbines and a six-mile breakwater wall. The company behind it says the station would generate electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.

Commenting on the report, Hendry said: “I believe that the evidence is clear that tidal lagoons can play a cost effective role in the UK’s energy mix…

“I conclude that tidal lagoons would help deliver security of supply; they would assist in delivering our decarbonisation commitments; and they would bring real and substantial opportunities for the UK supply chain.

Most importantly, it is clear that tidal lagoons at scale could deliver low carbon power in a way that is very competitive with other low carbon sources.

“Tidal lagoons can be an important and exciting new industry for the United Kingdom. We are blessed with some of the best resources in the world, which puts us in a unique position to be world leaders,” he said.

Environmental concerns 

The report’s finding have been welcomed by many, but some groups have raised concerns about the impact the project could have on marine life, birds and flooding.

Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency are looking into these issues, prior to the plan getting the go-ahead.

Mark Shorrock of Tidal Lagoon Power welcomed the news, stating: “When we pay our electricity bills, we are mostly supporting other countries’ energy industries and other countries’ workers.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Tidal lagoons will generate electrons that work for Britain and bring down bills

“The Hendry Review has set the final piece of the jigsaw in place: a watershed moment for British energy, British manufacturing, British productivity and our coastal communities. We look forward to working with ministers and officials to bring this new industry to life.”

A longer-term plan hopes to build a network of lagoons around the UK coast, but Hendry said this is “too ambitious a goal to be set at this time, before even one has been built”, adding it “could only be considered properly when more progress has been made on building a number of tidal lagoons”.

The full report can be read here.

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Órla Ryan

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