June could bring decision on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Artist's Impression - Swansea Bay tidal lagoon (Image: TLP)

The proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon scheme could reportedly be given a go-ahead from the UK government in June.

The uncertainty over the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could end in June, when the UK government is expected to give the approval for the scheme, according to Wales Online which is citing the unnamed source close to the UK government.

The 320MW project is still awaiting a subsidy agreement with the UK government, despite having been backed by an independent review of tidal lagoon industry, led by former UK energy minister Charles Hendry, who urged the government to to act swiftly on the ‘pathfinder’ Swansea Bay lagoon.

If the subsidy agreement for the project is reached in June, the developer behind the project, Tidal Lagoon Power, still needs to secure a marine license from Natural Resources Wales in order for any of the marine works to start.

This could present a challenge as Tidal Lagoon Power disagrees with the Welsh government’s regulator body in charge of issuing the license regarding the effects the tidal lagoon would have on the fish death rates in the area.

On the other side, the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project has received support from both the assembly members, and members of parliament, who have called the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark, to back the project.

A tidal lagoon is a ‘U’ shaped breakwater, built out from the coast which has a bank of hydro turbines in it. Water fills up and empties the lagoon as the tides rise and fall, generating electricity on both the incoming and outgoing tides, four times a day.

With the design life 120 years, tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay, would provide an annual net power output of 400GWh – enough to provide clean electricity to around 155,000 Welsh households.

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