Nearly 2 years after the project confirmed equity funding, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has just been backed by a government commission review.

Former UK energy minister Charles Hendry has been gathering evidence for the independent enquiry for almost a year and as part of that review has visited all the potential sites and held various discussions with the industry. That report says that the project would make a strong contribution to the UK’s energy supply.

There were a host of other conclusions in the report, but some of the headline ones were:

  • The technology would make a positive contribution towards the UK’s decarbonisation goals
  • Local economic regeneration would follow a tidal lagoon
  • A high level of monitoring of environmental impacts would still be needed
  • A Tidal Power Authority should oversee the new industry

There is still a very long way to go before Gloucester based Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) can make a start. A deal will need to be agreed with the government and marine licences approved. In addition, there are the environmental issues to be resolved. Concerns regarding the impact on flooding, fish, birds and marine wildlife will all need to be alleviated before that all important marine licence can be granted.

If all goes to plan, once the Tidal Lagoon is in place it is anticipated that it will provide power for the area for around 120 years and would be the first in a network of lagoons that will harness the power of the sea across the UK.

BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin recently reported that once the technology comes into its own it could eventually meet 8% of the UK’s energy needs and provide electricity at a lower cost than the new Hinckley C nuclear power station.
TLP are hoping to begin in Swansea in 2018 and despite construction of the entire project taking 4 years, it is anticipated that the first power will be generated in year 3.

When it comes to revitalising the local economy, independent reports found that more than 2000 construction and manufacturing jobs will be created by the project with may more jobs being supported on a wider scale.

How the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will work

A tidal lagoon is a ‘U’ shaped breakwater, built out from the coast which has a bank of hydro turbines in it. Water fills up and empties the man-made lagoon as the tides rise and fall. Electricity will be generated on the incoming and outgoing tides.

The West Coast of Britain has some incredible tides and by keeping the turbine gates shut for just three hours, a 14ft height difference in water is created between the inside and the outside of the lagoon. Power is then generated as the water rushes through 200ft long draft tubes, rotating the 23ft diameter hydro turbines

To see more detail, including plans and video on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon visit the TDL website.

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