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UK govt rejects plan for AGBP1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Jun 26, 2018 (MarketLine via COMTEX) --

The UK government has rejected plans for the construction of a AGBP1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as it would be too expensive compared to alternatives such as offshore wind farms and nuclear energy.

A tidal lagoon is a power station that generates electricity from the natural rise and fall of the tides. The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project comprises a 9km sea wall and 16 dual-directional turbines that can harness the energy of the tide.Tidal Lagoon Power had proposed the setting up of six tidal lagoons, of which the first was planned at Swansea.In an oral statement in Parliament, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that the proposal for the Swansea tidal lagoon would cost AGBP1.3bn to build and it would provide only around 0.15% of the electricity consumed each year.Clark said that the same amount of power generated by the lagoon, over 60 years, would cost AGBP400m for offshore wind even at current prices. Furthermore, the capital cost per unit of electricity generated each year by the tidal lagoon would be three times that of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.He said: "If a full programme of six lagoons were constructed, the Hendry Review found that the cost would be more than AGBP50bn, and be two-and-a-half times the cost of Hinkley to generate a similar output of electricity."Enough offshore wind to provide the same generation as a programme of lagoons is estimated to cost at least AGBP31.5 billion less to build.The minister said that an independent advice concluded that the civil engineering used in Swansea Bay would offer limited scope for innovation and capital cost reduction of 5% in the construction of subsequent facilities.Clark said: "I asked for an assessment of the export potential of embarking on a programme of implementing the technology, but the Hendry Review concluded that it would take a leap of faith to believe that the UK would be the main industrial beneficiary of any such programme."He said that the conclusion of the analysis, which has been shared with the Welsh government, is that the project and proposed programme of lagoons do not meet the requirements for value for money, and it would be inappropriate to lead the company to believe that public funds can be justified.The minister said: "Taking all the costs together, I have been advised by analysts that, by 2050, the proposal that has been made which would generate around 30TWh per year of electricity could cost up to AGBP20bn more to produce compared to generating that same electricity through a mix of offshore wind and nuclear, once financing, operating, and system costs have been taken into account."That could cost the average British household consumer up to an additional AGBP700 between 2031 and 2050, or the equivalent of AGBP15,000 for every household in Wales."The minister said that in recognition of the potential local economic benefits that might result from a lagoon in Swansea, the officials were asked to examine whether there could be any additional benefit, including a beneficial impact on the local economy.However, according to the Hendry Review, the AGBP1.3 billion Swansea lagoon would support only 28 jobs directly associated with operating and maintaining the lagoon in the long term.Greenpeace UK senior campaigner Emma Gibson said: "Today the people of South Wales learnt that they won't be hosting the first tidal lagoon in the world, losing the potential for new jobs, a new export industry and a new source of reliable, clean energy."A government that styles itself as an international leader in tackling climate change has just rejected the opportunity to become the international leader in developing tidal lagoons that produce clean energy day and night, and whose prices would have fallen after this first demonstration project."Instead, the government is preparing to throw billions of taxpayers' hard-earned cash at a nuclear industry that has been relying on hand outs for 60 years, as its prices just keep spiralling and delivery is delayed year after year. Instead of supporting a potential success, the government has decided to continue propping up a failure."_______________________________________________________________________________________Image: The proposed Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay project. Photo: courtesy of Good Energy LTD.

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