Swansea Bay tidal lagoon construction delayed until 2018

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

The construction of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project has been delayed until 2018 as talks with the UK government over subsidies continue.

The on-site construction for the project was supposed to begin in spring 2017, but the developer behind the project, Tidal Lagoon Power, yet again delayed the construction schedule start, with the new date set to 2018 at the earliest.

The reason for this, according to The Telegraph, lies in the fact that the decision over subsidizing the project has not yet been made by the UK government, and it would take at least 12 months from its approval to construction start.

The Telegraph further reports that in the case that the decision over the subsidies is not made in early 2017, the project could face more delays.

Tidal Lagoon Power is reportedly looking to reach subsidy contract agreement with the UK government that would last 90 years.

Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said that the most recent proposal put forward by the Tidal Lagoon Power would be a very significant deviation from current government policy. However, Norman added ‘it would not be impossible, but it would require careful consideration’.

Norman said: “We have always been clear that we will consider the findings of the independent review of tidal lagoons and all other relevant factors in deciding whether to proceed with negotiating a contract for difference (CfD) on this project. The developer is aware of that. The issue of value for money quite properly remains at the forefront.”

The review was commissioned by the UK government in February to assess feasibility and practicality of tidal lagoon energy in UK. Charles Hendry, former UK energy minister and head of the review, submitted the results to BEIS on December 9, 2016.

Furthermore, Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has recently hit another hurdle when Natural Resources Wales (NRW) revealed that the construction of the project could have adverse effect on the fish in the area.

NRW is Welsh government’s body in charge of issuing a marine license for the project, and even though the planning consent for the project was granted last year, it still needs a marine license for any marine works to start.

Tidal Lagoon Power is disputing the NRW’s figures of potential fish deaths deeming them as ‘unrealistic and grossly misleading’.

Once constructed, the 320MW Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could provide enough power for 155,000 homes, or over 90% of homes in the Swansea Bay area.

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