The inclusion of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in the National Infrastructure Plan shows that the government is serious about the potential of the sector, according to energy secretary Ed Davey.
The £850 million project will see a six-mile horseshoe shaped sea wall enclose 11.5 sq km of water. It is expected to generate 495 gigawatt hours (GW) of clean energy each year, enough to power 155,000 homes or around 11% of Wales’ domestic use.
Davey commented, “Tidal energy is a huge opportunity for Britain. Tidal lagoons alone could provide up to 8% of our power needs, replacing foreign fossil fuels with clean, reliable home-grown electricity.
“That’s why we’re showing investors and developers that we’re serious about tidal lagoon potential and have started in-depth discussions for what could become the world’s first tidal lagoon.”
The government has revealed it is set to further discussions with developers and could offer a guaranteed price for electricty from the project if it proves affordable. Such a move is likely to drive support from investors and other partners.
Speaking about the inclusion of the project on the infrastructure plan, Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power, said, “It’s another positive step towards tidal lagoon infrastructure becoming a mainstream energy solution. The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon provides the key to unlock large quantities of reliable, low cost, low carbon electricity for the next 120 years.
“Backing the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon also means backing a catalyst for British industry and exports, a new option for strategic flood defences, an opportunity to regenerate coastal communities and a vision for national energy infrastructure that can work hand-in-hand with nature.”
The Crown Estate also demonstrated its support for tidal energy earlier this year by investing almost £10 million in a development in Pentland Firth.