The government acknowledges progress has been made to understand tidal lagoon technology, but says more work needs to be done to determine whether they present value for money. They have commissioned a review of the technology to improve their understanding of how tidal lagoons could contribute to the future of the UK’s energy mix in the most cost effective way.
The review will commence this spring and it will help establish an evidence base to ensure all decisions made regarding tidal lagoon energy are in the best interest of the UK.
Tidal Lagoon Power, the proposed developers of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and other industry stakeholders will take part in the review while discussions about Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon continue.
Energy Minister Lord Bourne commented: “Tidal Lagoons on this scale are an exciting, but as yet an untested technology. I want to better understand whether tidal lagoons can be cost effective, and what their impact on bills will be – both today and in the longer term.
“This review will help give us that clarity so we can determine what role tidal lagoons could have as part of our plans to provide secure, clean and affordable energy for families and businesses across the country.”
Commenting on today’s announcement Kepler Energy’s Peter Dixon (Executive Chairman) said: “The opportunity that tidal stream energy offers the UK must not be overshadowed by the hiatus surrounding Tidal Lagoons and Swansea Bay. Kepler Energy is working hard to bring forward plans for a tidal energy fence that will be located in the Bristol Channel and we have shared our outline plans with a range of stakeholders including the Department of Energy & Climate Change, the Welsh Government, the Crown Estate and the Treasury.
“Our tidal energy technology will use the very latest carbon composite technology, and can be deployed in shallower, lower velocity tidal waters around the UK coastline and also in overseas waters, in countries such as China, Korea, Japan and India. Subject to planning and financing, the Bristol Channel tidal fence, which is likely to be located in the Aberthaw to Minehead stretch of water, could be operational by 2025.”
“Kepler Energy’s technology is regarded as environmentally benign and would be subject to a rigorous environmental impact assessment during the planning process to ensure that it carries no significant risk to marine life and other users of the sea.
Dixon added: “Our Bristol Channel tidal fence has the potential to mobilise the carbon composite industry in the UK, as well as to create new and skilled jobs in Wales and the West Country.
“The opportunity that tidal stream energy offers the UK is very significant. Our tidal stream technology at scale can quickly be cost competitive with nuclear generation and offshore wind, and can be deployed quickly and extensively in UK and overseas waters.”
Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, said: “This is a huge step from the UK Government and a clear signal that it sees potential advantage for the UK energy consumer in very long-dated tidal energy infrastructure assets.
“There is vast potential for tidal lagoon power to provide cheap long-term renewable energy at scale and to be taken formally into national policy.
“We welcome the opportunity to put the case for a major programme of cost-effective power. This is a home-grown source of power, the natural way to power our nation. We have built a supply chain which puts UK companies at the forefront of a new world-leading technology.”
Continuing, Mark Shorrock expressed concern about the continuing delay in considering the demonstration first-of-a-kind tidal lagoon for the UK. He said: “It is imperative that we conclude our structuring and commercial negotiation with Government within the next 6 weeks. This is entirely possible; the review should not impact the finalisation of our commercial discussions. To unlock the potential of tidal lagoon power, we need investment in a demonstration project that will grow the supply chain and build investor confidence that an exceptionally long term project can go forward in today’s UK electricity market.
“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is an appropriately small pilot project that gives rise to large scale projects. Investing in this project could add as little as 10p to householder’s bills. The first large scale lagoon to employ its blueprint could take £5 off householder’s bills
“The project planned for Swansea Bay is ready to go now. We have built a team, secured planning permission, secured equity sponsors, prepared a delivery team and a supply chain. We have received overwhelming support for this project locally, nationally and internationally. If tidal lagoon power at scale is to be a real option for the longer term, we need to start work on Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon now. Otherwise the opportunity will be lost and the review will be all for nothing.
“We want to give birth to a tidal range industry. We want to return steel workers into jobs. We want to make our own turbines and generators here in the UK, we want to bestow a legacy on Great Britain from Wales of 120 year life power. But none of this will be possible if we don’t start now.
“A welcome review should not be. There is a serious and growing gap of electricity generation capacity. We need 16 new large scale power stations. The cheapest new power stations will be tidal lagoons, roof-top solar power and gas fired power stations. We need all three and quickly. And when the nuclear stations are ready, we will probably need them too, but their timescales are more uncertain.
“This country either started or scaled many of the world’s industries, including many of the world’s energy industries. Energy in the UK has become a completely regulated market where all operators and technology forms – from fossil fuel, to nuclear, to renewable – depend on direct or indirect subsidy. All non-hydro low carbon energies – solar, biomass, wind, and especially nuclear – have been conformed to favour foreign providers of the technology. We lose jobs, we lose time. Importantly, we also have lost baseload power.
“The tidal lagoon fleet breaks this unfavourable tradition. We will capitalise on a natural advantage. With speed we will deliver baseload power at a nuclear scale and a lower cost. Today’s review will ensure that we are able to consolidate this understanding in the market.
“We have made a value-for-money proposition to Government. There is no reason not to press on with Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon negotiations.
“Recognising the extremely long asset life of a tidal lagoon enables the overall financing costs to be significantly reduced.
“The world-first tidal lagoon that carries on its shoulders the launch of a global industry now requires a lower level of subsidy support than any offshore wind farm ever built in the UK.
“We have proposed an equivalent CfD strike price for the 320MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon below that of offshore wind. Our structure has a subsidy that reduces over time, meaning that for around half of the proposed 90-year contract, the lagoon pays money to Government.
“By linking Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon to the successful delivery of a second, fullscale lagoon, this approach further reduces the required and proposed equivalent CfD strike price of Swansea Bay to under £100/MWh, comparable to the Hinkley C nuclear power station.
“Application of these bespoke support structures to the Cardiff Tidal Lagoon, a 2,700MW capacity project, the equivalent CfD strike price requirement is £68.30/MWh. It is excellent to have an independent review to substantiate how tidal lagoons can bring down electricity bills immediately after demonstration stage while providing Victorian-style infrastructure legacy.
“Our company’s vision is to harness the tides to generate our power, and to establish a new global industry in the UK. Today’s review launch confirms a strong interest from Government in this vision.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Government on the delivery of this vision, including on the most efficient financial support structures for tidal lagoons. But we will be pushing for Government support to demonstrate the potential of tidal lagoon power by giving the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay project, thereby avoiding the still birth of a game-changer for UK energy and UK industry.”
The review will consider:
– An assessment of whether, and in what circumstances, tidal lagoons could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix;
– The potential scale of opportunity in the UK and internationally, including supply chain opportunities;
– A range of possible structures for financing tidal lagoons;
– Different sizes of projects as the first of a kind;
– Whether a competitive framework could be put in place for the delivery of tidal lagoon projects.
This review will take place in consultation with the relevant Government departments – in particular DECC and HMT for financial aspects.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!