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UK to embrace tidal lagoon technology

Published:  26 March, 2015

The UK Government is opening talks with Tidal Lagoon Power on providing financial support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.

RenewableUK’s Wave and Tidal development manager Dee Nunn commented: “This is a significant step forward towards building the first tidal lagoon of its kind in the world. This pioneering project would ensure that Wales and the UK stay at the forefront of marine energy, providing clean electricity for 120 years and creating 2000 jobs in the construction phase alone.

Tidal power is a major economic and energy opportunity for the UK – and tidal lagoons could form a key element of this. The proposed six-mile horseshoe shaped sea wall scheme in Swansea Bay could generate around 500GWh per year, enough to power almost 120,000 homes.

Nunn added: “By enabling this project to go ahead, the Government will also unlock the potential for other, larger tidal lagoons to be developed. Swansea Bay will generate the confidence needed to attract investors into those future schemes in the UK. So a negotiated strike price is needed for this first project as it’s the trailblazer which will generate momentum to kick-start the full commercialisation of this part of the marine energy sector.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Britain has some of the best tidal resources in the world – tidal lagoons could provide 8% of our electricity needs, replacing foreign fossil fuels with clean, reliable home-grown electricity and creating fantastic economic opportunities.”

Contracts for Difference are part of the Government’s reforms to the energy market. They provide developers with more price certainty for the electricity generated by the plant, stimulating significant investment in renewable energy projects.

The negotiations will establish whether a Contract for Difference (CFD) for a potential tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers. Any decision to offer a CFD for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project would be subject to strict value for money considerations, the funds available within the Levy Control Framework (LCF) at the time of a decision, and to State aid approval.

The project is also still subject to a planning decision. Negotiations are separate from and without prejudice to this planning decision.

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