The backers of a pioneering project to harness energy from the tides off the Welsh coast have rebooted the scheme and believe they can build it without the help of government. With the recent failure of two major nuclear projects, attention has turned to alternatives to fill the low-carbon power gap, with developers of windfarms and small nuclear plants among those vying for government support. Now the firm behind the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon, for which ministers rejected subsidies last year on the grounds it was too costly, has said it believes the project can work without government money and be built within six years. Swansea-based Tidal Power plc said several major companies were interested in buying the low-carbon electricity generated by the tide flowing through turbines in a concrete wall along Swansea bay. Property company Land Securities, Cardiff airport and developer Berkeley Group are among those to have expressed an interest in signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the lagoon. Such PPA deals are typically used by big energy users as a way of hedging against future power price rises, or burnishing green credentials by buying from renewable sources. A record 13.4 gigawatts of clean energy contracts were signed last year, according to BloombergNEF. The lagoon’s backers also believe its prospects will be boosted by adding floating solar panels to the lagoon, ramping up the amount of electricity it generates. UK water companies have already used floating solar power on reservoirs in Manchester, near Heathrow and elsewhere.
Guardian 4th Feb 2019 read more »