Cost of tidal power can be halved says Ecotricity

Green energy company Ecotricity is claiming it can build tidal lagoon energy sites in Britain for almost half the price currently proposed for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Welcoming the Government’s recently announced review of tidal lagoon energy, the company has urged the Department of Energy and Climate to ensure value for money from the fledgling tidal industry.

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, said: “The Government has been agonising for a while about what level of support to give to the first tidal project in Britain. They’re clearly interested in the technology, which is a good thing, but they’ve been put off by the price tag of £168/MWh proposed by Swansea Bay – that’s understandable.

“We welcome the review, because we’re confident that tidal power projects can be built around Britain at much closer to £90/MWh - that’s the same price the Government are paying to support nuclear energy, but without the risks or clean-up costs.”

He added: “We were concerned that the Government were being pushed into paying too high a price for tidal energy through the Swansea Bay scheme. That would be bad for renewable energy generally because it would reinforce the myth that green energy is expensive, and bad for tidal power specifically because it may never get off the ground. 

“We’re hoping this review will lead to the Government supporting tidal energy in Britain and doing it in a way that will enable competition, and through that value for money – enabling tidal mills to achieve their true potential in Britain.”  

 Tidal Lagoon Power, the proposed developers of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and other industry stakeholders will take part in the review while discussions about Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon continue. TLP is asking for a higher incentive than wind turbines, solar power and nuclear.

The review will commence this spring and it will help establish an evidence base to ensure all decisions made regarding tidal lagoon energy are in the best interest of the UK.

Announcing the review in February, Energy Minister Lord Bourne said: “Tidal lagoons on this scale are an exciting but as yet an untested technology. I want to better understand whether tidal lagoons can be cost effective, and what their impact on bills will be - both today and in the longer term.

“This review will help give us that clarity so we can determine what role tidal lagoons could have as part of our plans to provide secure, clean and affordable energy for families and businesses across the country.”

The review will consider:

•An assessment of whether, and in what circumstances, tidal lagoons could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix;

•The potential scale of opportunity in the UK and internationally, including supply chain opportunities;

•A range of possible structures for financing tidal lagoons;

•Different sizes of projects as the first of a kind;

•Whether a competitive framework could be put in place for the delivery of tidal lagoon projects.