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Green light for world's first tidal lagoon

Published:  12 June, 2015

The world’s first ever tidal lagoon energy project has been granted planning permission by the UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd. The project is scheduled to be built in Swansea Bay by British company Tidal Lagoon Power, which has pioneered the scheme from the beginning.

This announcement is a significant step towards commencing construction with a number of major contractors named as preferred bidders. At least 50% of the contracts will go to British companies.

When fully constructed the tidal lagoon will have an installed capacity of 320 megawatts, enough to generate renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes.

Using the fully predictable daily motion of the tides it will provide this clean, home-grown electricity 14 hours a day for 120 years, and will only require Government support for an initial 35 years – less than a third of its lifespan. The next hurdle for Tidal Lagoon Power will be to secure this support in the form of a “Contract for Difference” to guarantee the price of the electricity for this initial period.

Not only could Swansea Bay lagoon save over 236,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year but the construction of this “first of a kind” project could be the critical step to kick-starting a tidal lagoon industry. Six potential lagoon locations have been identified around the UK which combined could provide up to 8% of the UK’s electricity and add up to £27 billion cumulatively to the UK GDP by 2027.

RenewableUK’s Deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “This momentous news marks the start of an entirely new industry in Britain, which will lead the world in this innovative ultra-modern technology. As a maritime nation, we are perfectly placed to take advantage of the powerful tides surging around our coasts every day, which have great potential to generate increasingly significant quantities of renewable electricity.”

Smith added that the announcement “is a major step towards harnessing this untapped energy source on an unprecedented scale, providing clean electricity to the nation for generations to come. It will also provide a massive economic boost with new jobs, economic development and tourism opportunities for the region at the heart of the project.”

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