UK government to shutter plans for Welsh tidal power lagoon

1st June 2018 | Commercial Energy

The Financial Times reported that Business Secretary Greg Clark will next week give the thumbs-down to the £1.3 billion scheme for a six-mile sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity. Mr Clark’s Business Department would not confirm a final decision at this stage, but said that any development must represent value for money for taxpayers and consumers.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said rejection of the scheme would be “a kick in the teeth” for the people of Wales, while Plaid Cymru said it was time for decision-making powers to be handed from Westminster to Cardiff.

The FT said ministers were baulking at the level of subsidy required for the proposal by Tidal Lagoon Power, with one unnamed Government figure saying there was “not a cat’s chance in hell” of it being approved.

Tidal power

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said, “As the Business Secretary told MPs recently, while we have quadrupled the proportion of our electricity that comes from renewable sources since 2010, we have a responsibility to minimise the impact on consumer bills and the Swansea proposal is more than twice as expensive as the Hinkley power station.

“Any decision on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project will have to represent value for money for the UK taxpayer as well as the consumer. However, we have committed to continue exploring all of the possibilities and challenges in considering a proposal that – as the First Minister of the Welsh Government pointed out – involved an untried technology with high capital costs and significant uncertainties.”

Mr Jones said, “If these rumours prove to be true, the UK Government will be delivering a massive blow to Swansea and Wales more widely – yet another kick in the teeth after their decision to abandon electrification of the train line west of Cardiff.”

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