Plans for major UK tidal lagoon power plant unveiled

More plans to generate electricity from the UK’s first fleet of tidal lagoons have been unveiled today, in a project that could last up to 120 years.

Tidal Lagoon Power, a Gloucester-based renewable energy company, has launched plans for another much larger scheme which it said could power all the homes in Wales.

One lagoon at Swansea, said to be able to produce energy for 155,000 homes, is already awaiting government permission, with details for a second in Cardiff having been published today.

The lagoon between Cardiff and Newport, which would include 90 turbines set in a 14-mile breakwater to harness the power of tides, could provide enough electricity for 1.5 million homes.

“Full-scale tidal lagoon infrastructure gives the UK an opportunity to generate electricity from our amazing tidal range at a cost comparable to fossil fuel or nuclear generation,” Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power, said.

The six lagoons will create power by capturing the tides behind giant sea walls, then using the weight of the water to power turbines, and it said the fleet could generate 8 per cent of the UK’s electricity.

The £1 Swansea scheme faced some criticism for the projected cost of generating power – a £168 charge per MWh, but the company said that subsequent lagoons will be able to produce electricity at a lower cost.

The Cardiff scheme would require subsidies for the green energy it delivers – funded by electricity bill-payers, with the company estimating that it could require payments of £90 to £95 per MWh, similar to new nuclear.

Building on the template in Swansea Bay, which aimed to establish a blueprint for the technology, Tidal Lagoon Power took the first step with the Cardiff lagoon by submitting an Environmental Impact Assessment scoping report for the project. This would have an installed capacity of between 1,800MW and 2,800MW.

“There is still a long way to go and many environmental surveys to undertake but we will work in partnership with all nature conservation bodies so as to understand, avoid, minimise and mitigate any environmental impacts,” Shorrock said.

It aims to submit a full planning application in 2017 and the scheme could start generating power in 2022 if approved.

The proposed lagoon sites are Swansea, Cardiff, Newport, West Cumbria, Colwyn Bay and Bridgwater Bay.

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