Letter: THE UK Government Business Secretary Greg Clark has informed the Westminster Parliament that, despite “leaving no stone unturned”, he has rejected the plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay. This decision is such a short-sighted one for the future energy provision for the UK. Tidal lagoon technology is not ground-breaking new technology but is merely a hydroelectric power station built in tidal waters capturing, four times a day, the flow of tides through its turbines. No country in the world is better placed to harness and develop tidal power than the UK. Once built, the Swansea lagoon would have relatively low long term running costs with huge benefits on the sidelines from the recreational use and so on. This decision is a sad one for Swansea, for Wales and for the UK as a whole. It is one that we can only hope will be reversed in the future.
Herald 27th June 2018 read more »
‘This is not the end of the journey’: What next for UK tidal energy? The government’s rejection of plans for a tidal energy project in Swansea Bay yesterday was undoubtedly a massive disappointment for the UK renewables sector, even if press stories for months prior to the announcement meant the final outcome was not entirely surprising. In the House of Commons, Business Secretary Greg Clark went as far as to say giving the green light to the project would be “irresponsible”, arguing that “however novel and appealing the proposal” the costs to the taxpayer and consumer would be too high. In contrast, developer Tidal Lagoon Power’s (TLP) strongly-worded response decried Clark’s “misinformed” and “misleading” statement, accusing him of cherry-picking cost projections, not providing sufficient transparency on the basis for the decision, and failing to adequately engage with the company over the past two years. The appetite for tidal energy among ministers, it seems, is still very much there, the government just doesn’t feel it can put too much money behind it. It is highly likely, then, to keep looking for alternative options beyond Swansea Bay. With that in mind, Simec Atlantic Energy yesterday took the opportunity to push its own proposals for a tidal barrage and flood protection project in the Wyre Estuary as a potential lower-cost alternative to kick-start the technology. Tim Cornelius, the company’s CEO, described the 100MW Wyre Estuary project – which would boast a lifespan of 120 years and require a smaller subsidy than that CfD awarded to Hinkley Point – as the “ideal pathfinder for a series of similar range projects being planned across the UK”.
Business Green 26th June 2018 read more »
The Guardian view on tidal energy: cost is not the whole story. Ministers’ decision to shelve a pioneering wave power scheme in Swansea Bay is based on evidence – but also ideology. The UK government’s decision to shelve plans to build the world’s first tidal lagoon off Swansea Bay is a hard blow for Wales. It’s true that tidal lagoon power is costly at the moment. The so-called strike price that the government would have to agree for Swansea’s electricity, to get the project off the ground, lay between £92.70 and £150 per megawatt hour (MWh), with the difference accounted for by a Welsh government subsidy, and the duration of the contract. While the UK government’s rejection of the scheme – on which the company says it has spent £35m – was based on the higher figure of £150 over 30 years, the company said that, given a longer contract of 60 years, it could supply electricity at £92.70, the same as Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, the government’s flagship energy project in Somerset (Hinkley Point’s strike price is fixed for 35 years). The Welsh government said that its offer of a £200m subsidy made the Swansea project – meant to be the first of six British tidal lagoons, four of them in Wales – competitive with Hinkley even on a similar time span. Welsh politicians have reacted with understandable fury to Mr Clark’s announcement, which comes almost exactly 12 months after the government abandoned plans to electrify the railway from Cardiff to Swansea, and just a day after MPs voted to press ahead with another expensive infrastructure project: a third runway at Heathrow. The government is planning more nuclear power stations, including one in Wales. Different rules seem to apply for different technologies. It looks like a Tory government in Westminster snubbed Welsh Labour’s pet project. Backers of the tidal project felt shut out by ministers. Wave energy lobbyists perhaps don’t have the firepower in Whitehall that others can muster. Mr Clark might have relied on the evidence to make a tough call not to back a new, green technology. But it’s hard to shake off the impression that the decision was one rooted in the partisan politics of self-interest.
Guardian 26th June 2018 read more »
To marked disappointment expressed across the political spectrum in Wales, business and energy secretary Greg Clark finally told Parliament yesterday (25 June) that government would not finance the first of these lagoons, a £1.3bn scheme proposed for Swansea Bay that would have entailed building a six-mile-long horseshoe-shaped seawall dotted with 16 underwater turbines. Yesterday Clark told MPs that his department had received proposals for cheaper tidal power schemes, but they were in “earlier stages of development”.
Global Construction review 26th June 2018 read more »
A Government decision to reject plans for the world’s first tidal power lagoon in Cardiff has been slammed by local politicians of all parties including the Conservatives. Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, said: ‘On the day when the UK Government is pressing ahead with plans to expand Heathrow Airport, Wales has been short-changed on a major infrastructure project of national significance. ‘We are therefore seeking an urgent meeting with the secretary of state for Wales to discuss the ramifications of this decision and to seek reassurances that Wales features in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.’
Local Gov 26th June 2018 read more »
Following the government announcement, the chief executive of Simec Atlantis Energy highlighted his firm’s proposal for a separate scheme on the Lancashire coast. “We believe our proposed project for the Wyre Estuary represents a golden opportunity for the government to reinforce its commitment to tidal range technology,” said Tim Cornelius. “As well as generating predictable, zero-carbon, sustainable power to the region, the project also offers flood protection capabilities for the local Wyre Valley.” In June 2017, the Duchy of Lancaster nominated Simec Atlantis as preferred partner to develop the tidal barrage and flood protection project, between Fleetwood and Knott End. The firm is completing feasibility studies before the next stage of design, engineering and consent, with construction planned for 2021.
IMech 26th June 2018 read more »