Swansea Tidal Lagoon power plant wins planning permission

Swansea Tidal Lagoon Power

Planning consent for new £1bn “world first” tidal lagoon station starts ball rolling for major £30bn investment in UK zero carbon tidal energy industry over decades.

A new era of reliable, zero carbon base load renewable energy was promised today with granting of planning permission for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon Power plant.

The 320MW installed capacity project, developed by Tidal Lagoon Power, will have a design life of 120 years and a net annual power output of over 500 GWh -  enough to power over 155,000 homes, or 90% of homes in the Swansea Bay area.

“We are now entering the era of the climate change revolution – de-carbonising our world in time to avoid two degrees of global warming – Wales can now lead this next revolution,” Mark Shorrocks, Tidal Lagoon Power. 

“What a day for Wales and the building of a Welsh Powerhouse!” said Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay, clearly very pleased with the planning outcome.

“We are now entering the era of the climate change revolution – de-carbonising our world in time to avoid two degrees of global warming – Wales can now lead this next revolution,” he added. 

“We now have some further permissions to secure and must successfully conclude CFD [Contract for Difference] negotiations on our way to financial close, but the vision is now closer to reality than ever before and our delivery team is readying itself to start on site and start delivering for Swansea Bay next spring,” he said.

The decision came after inspectors carefully weighed 5000 pages of evidence on the impact on the natural habitat of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon over its expected 120 year life against the zero carbon infrastructure, delivering  a net annual power output of over 500 GWh. 

The project is expected to now pave the way, via this “scalable blueprint” pilot project, to a fleet of lagoons at Cardiff, at Newport and at other sites in the UK and overseas also being promoted by Tidal Lagoon Power. 

Read an interview with Andrew McNaughton on the Tidal Lagoon Power £30bn ambition

 

Read Mike McNicholas on the importance of social gain from infrastructure

And while each must make its own social, environmental and economic case for planning approval, the Swansea decision is seen as the vital step towards a circa £30bn investment in a fleet of up to six stations over the next few decades to eventually generate perhaps 8% of the nation’s electricity needs.  

This programme is being overseen by Tidal Lagoon Power construction and engineering director Andrew McNaughton, former chief executive of Balfour Beatty. 

“Through a single project we have the opportunity to create a whole new industry,” said Shorrock. “And in a single step, that project can take us to low cost, renewable energy on a nuclear scale.”

He added:  “In the run up to the Paris talks on a global climate change deal, a deal to steer global emissions from 50bn tonnes CO2e down to 40bn tonnes CO2e by 2030 and 20bn tonnes by 2050, the UK and especially Wales has opened a new door to help answer the greatest challenge of our age.”

The £1bn Swansea project was added to the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Plan in December 2014 and the first phase of negotiations with the Department of Energy & Climate Change on a potential Contract for Difference for the project were announced in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2015.

To date key delivery partners for the project include Atkins as client’s engineer, General Electric and Andritz Hydro as turbine preferred bidders, Laing O’Rourke as turbine housing preferred bidder,  Alun Griffiths as public realm ancillary works preferred bidder; China Harbour Engineering Company as marine works preferred bidder and Prudential and InfraRed Capital Partners as equity partners.

“Through a single project we have the opportunity to create a whole new industry,”  Shorrocks.

Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc is a special purpose vehicle company established specifically to construct, own and operate the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant at Swansea Bay. Keith Clarke former Atkins chief executive is non-executive chairman, and the board include experienced major projects directors including Bernard Ainsworth and Mike McNicholas.

Read interview with Andrew McNaughton on the Tidal Lagoon Power £30bn ambition

Read Mike McNicholas on the importance of social gain from infrastructure

Comments

These numbers don't add up. UK household electricity is 4600MWh/y a piece. That's 108 thousand UK homes at a net power of 500GWH/y Also an upfront of 185$/MWh, not including maintenance, and it'll destroy the local sealife. There are cheaper ways to ditch fossil fuels. France already cleaned its grid, do what's been proven to work already.