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Tidal lagoon could power Wales

Words: Laura Edgar
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Tidal Lagoon Power has submitted its Environment Impact Assessment scoping report for a tidal lagoon between Newport and Cardiff that could provide electricity to every home in Wales.

The project, Tidal Lagoon Power said, will have an “installed capacity, dependent on final design, of between 1,800 megawatts (MW) and 2,800 MW.” This would give an output of between four terawatt-hours (TWh) and six TWh, which is “comfortable enough low-carbon electricity to power every home in Wales throughout its 120-year life.”

The Environmental Impact Assessment seeks comment on the survey work that will support the planning application for the Nationally Significant Infrastructure project.

Site allocation and feasibility for Cardiff Tidal Lagoon, which is following in the wake of the company’s Swansea Tidal Bay Lagoon application (decision expected in June), began in 2011.

Plans for the Cardiff Lagoon include up to 90 turbines set within a 22 km breakwater enclosing an area of approximately 70,000 square metres. Tidal Lagoon Power explained: “The Western landfall would be approximately 2 km from the entrance to Cardiff Bay and the Eastern landfall would be approximately 2 km from the mouth of the River Usk.”

A full planning application is expected to be submitted in 2017.

Mark Shorrock, Tidal Lagoon chief executive, said: “Full-scale tidal lagoon infrastructure gives the UK an opportunity to generate electricity from our amazing tidal range at a cost comparable to fossil fuel or nuclear generation. We have the best tidal resource in Europe and the second=best worldwide. We now have a sustainable way to make the most of this natural advantage.

“We will build on the template established for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon - applying the expertise and learning, scaling the UK supply chain and Turbine Assembly Plant, leveraging the institutional investor partnerships we have developed – to deliver a Cardiff Tidal Lagoon capable of working in harmony with nature to supply around 1.5 million UK homes, now and for generations to come, with affordable, reliable, low-carbon electricity.

“There is still a long way to go and many environmental surveys to undertake, but we will work in partnership with all nature conservation bodies so as to understand, avoid, minimise and mitigate any environmental impacts.”

Tidal Lagoon Power is also working on the feasibility of four other full-scale UK tidal lagoons in Newport, West Cumbria, Colwyn Bay and Bridgwater Bay in Somerset. In total, the six tidal lagoons could, said the company, meet 8 per cent of the UK’s total electricity requirement for 120 years.

Image courtesy of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon