Ministers have gone cold on the £1.3bn project to build a tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay, concluding that the “eye-wateringly” expensive project does not represent sufficient value for money for taxpayers. The scheme’s backers had hoped that it would be the first of a series of new electricity-generating lagoons around the country – with the potential to export the technology overseas. Over £200m has been provisionally committed for the project by backers led by Prudential, the insurer. But it has been almost a year since a government-commissioned review recommended rapid approval as the government frets over the cost against a backdrop of falling prices for rival renewable energy schemes, especially offshore wind. One cabinet ministe r said that the project did not stack up economically because it was “eye-wateringly” expensive, and would only directly create only a handful of jobs in the local economy. Another government figure said ministers had cold feet. “It’s hard to see which ministers if any are still championing this at a ministerial level,” he said. The proposed 320 megawatt pilot project in Swansea Bay, which has a projected lifespan of 120 years, won planning permission in June 2015. It would involve building a six-mile horseshoe-shaped seawall with underwater turbines generating energy on the outgoing tide. Rachel Reeves, chair of the business select committee, said it was time for ministers to clarify the situation for investors.
FT 17th Dec 2017 read more »