The world’s first ever tidal lagoon energy project has been granted planning permission by British Energy Secretary Amber Rudd.
If built, turbines in the proposed six-mile horseshoe shaped sea wall around Swansea Bay in Wales could generate around 500GWh per year of low carbon electricity.
The project is scheduled to be built by British company Tidal Lagoon Power. This announcement is a significant step towards commencing construction with a number of major contractors named as preferred bidders.
At least 50% of the contracts will go to British companies. When fully constructed the tidal lagoon will have an installed capacity of 320 megawatts, enough to generate renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes. Using the fully predictable daily motion of the tides it will provide electricity 14 hours a day for 120 years, and will only require Government support for an initial 35 years – less than a third of its lifespan.
The next major hurdle for Tidal Lagoon Power will be to secure this support in the form of a “Contract for Difference” to guarantee the price of the electricity for this initial period. Not only could Swansea Bay lagoon save over 236,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year but the construction of this “first of a kind” project could be the critical step to kick-starting a tidal lagoon industry.
Six potential lagoon locations have been identified around the UK which combined could provide up to 8% of the UK’s electricity and add up to £27 billion cumulatively to the UK GDP by 2027.
Juliet Davenport, OBE, chief executive and founder of renewable electricity company Good Energy, commented: “Innovation is in Good Energy’s DNA, that’s why we led the way with an early stage investment back in 2014.
“Our stake includes the right to purchase 10% of the lagoon’s electricity output. This will enable Good Energy to further diversify our sources of renewable electricity to supply our growing customer base.”