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Cardiff Bay tidal lagoon makes progress

Words: Roger Milne
Cardiff Bay / iStock-119879987

Proposals for a huge tidal power lagoon in Cardiff Bay have made progress this week now the company has secured a connection deal with National Grid for the project which, if built, would be rated at 3,240 megawatts.

Current plans for Cardiff Tidal Lagoon comprise a 20.5-kilomtere breakwater wall, housing up to 108 tidal lagoon turbines within at least two powerhouse units.  

By enclosing approximately 70 square kilometres of the Severn Estuary, the project would pass an average of 600 million cubic metres of water through its turbines on each tidal cycle, more than 11 times the volume of water available to the pathfinder scheme at Swansea Bay.

A full application for development consent for the scheme, between Cardiff and Newport, is anticipated in 2019.

Backers of the lagoon claim it represents an Olympic-sized economic opportunity for the Cardiff Capital Region. Some estimates suggest that over 3,000 construction workers would be required on the build, with the potential to create and sustain more than 8,000 Welsh and UK manufacturing jobs in the project’s supply chain.

Leader of Cardiff City Council Huw Thomas, said: “We welcome this development as an important milestone in progressing a hugely exciting and potentially transformative project for Cardiff and the wider region.  

National Grid director Phil Sheppard said: “Tidal power has the potential for highly flexible operation in the future. This infrastructure project will have a significant impact as we move towards an increasingly low carbon electricity network.”

Meanwhile, Utility Week reported that Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who was recently elected chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, asked in the House of Commons last week when the government intends to respond to the Hendry review.

She said: “The issue of the tidal lagoon does need a response from the government. It is eight months since the review.

“There is a very real risk that the investors that are needed to fund the project will walk away unless a decision is made very soon by the government.”

Image credit | iStock