Ecotricity founder slams Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Dale Vince (Photo: Ecotricity)

The founder of Ecotricity, Dale Vince, has called the UK government to ‘resist the pressure’ to grant support for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon stating that the proposed project is too expensive.

Vince said that tidal lagoons built entirely offshore can produce power at half the cost of those such as Swansea Bay tidal lagoon which are connected to the foreshore.

He added that lagoons built offshore also have significantly lower environmental impact on the inter tidal zone, as they ‘don’t kill as much wildlife, and use less rock for construction’.

Vince said: “If the government wants to support tidal lagoon development in the UK, and we think it should, then it should be done in a proper businesslike way. We also believe it can be done at around a quarter of the cost, without a financial burden on the UK’s energy bills that will last for almost 100 years.”

To remind, the UK-based green outfit Ecotricity said last year in February it was ready to compete to build the first tidal lagoon in the UK that would ensure the value for money from the emerging industry.

“We need a competitive tender and not a sweetheart deal with just one developer. We simply don’t think it’s good value for money, or the best option,” concluded Vince.

Commenting on the results of the review into tidal lagoon energy in the UK, conducted by the former UK energy minister Charles Hendry, who said that moving ahead with the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project is a ‘no-regrets policy’, Vince said:

“We took part, but were disappointed in the outcome, which seemed a bit of a whitewash. Since then, Ofgem has stated that tidal lagoons like the Swansea proposal are essentially more about facilitating regional regeneration – rather than generating energy itself, which essentially recognized the high costs of the project are more about improving the region.

“These costs should not be put on the nation’s energy bills.”

Responding to comments made by the Ecotricity’s founder, Tidal Lagoon Power, the developer behind the 320MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project, said:

“The Hendry Review categories offshore tidal lagoons as ‘less developed and more aspirational’. While we are supportive of all efforts to innovate in the power sector, clearly no employment, industry or low carbon power can come from aspiration alone.

“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is the pathfinder for a new global industry that can pull down the price of electricity for consumers while allowing them to interact with and learn from the source of that electricity like never before.

“Investors want to fund tidal lagoons, British industry wants to supply them, coastal communities want to host them and with permission to proceed from UK government we can be on site in Swansea Bay next year.”

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