Widespread criticism as UK government rejects Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

25th June 2018 | Commercial Energy

The UK Government has formally rejected plans for a 240 MW tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, with the decision widely criticised throughout the industry. In a statement, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that “the project and proposed programme of lagoons do not meet the requirements for value for money, and so it would not be appropriate to lead the company to believe that public funds can be justified.”

The government said that the proposal for the Swansea tidal lagoon would cost £1.3 billion to build. If successful to its maximum ambition, it would provide around 0.15% of the electricity the UK use each year. The same power generated by the lagoon, over 60 years, for £1.3 billion, would cost around £400 million for offshore wind and today’s prices, with the UK government expecting it to be cheaper still in future.

Swansea Bay Tidal

The capital cost per unit of electricity generated each year would be three times that of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, Clark said.

The Welsh Government said the decision to not support the scheme was a “crushing blow to Wales”. In January this year, Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones pledged financial support to help kick-start the project and called on the UK government to “stop stalling” its decision on the project. Jones said at the time that he is “ready and willing” to provide “further substantial investment” in the project to help it get off the ground. A figure of between £100 million and £200 million had been put forward by Jones’ government to kick-start development of the scheme.

Developer Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) has already been granted a £1.25 million loan from the Welsh government but the project is largely privately financed. The main backers are Infracapital, the Gupta family, Good Energy and over 300 individual investors.

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