A North Wales tidal lagoon could help safeguard about £2bn worth of property along the coastline, a study has found.
North Wales Tidal Energy Group (NWTE), which is leading the proposed £7bn scheme, commissioned Ruthin-based flood risk experts Waterco to study the coastal protection benefits of the project.
The lagoon could also provide low-carbon electricity for more than 1M homes as well as safeguard the homes, businesses, road and rail links along the North Wales coast from flooding, NWTE chairman Henry Dixon said.
Waterco managing director Peter Jones said: “North Wales’s existing coastal flood defences will have to be strengthened and raised in the face of rising sea levels due to climate change.
“Over the next 100 years walls and banks will need to be raised by at least a metre, with some experts suggesting two metres. As things stand the cost will fall to Welsh Government and local authorities and that cost will run to many hundreds of millions of pounds.
“From our preliminary work we are already able to say that one of the benefits of the NWTE proposal will be to reduce that public cost as the outer bank of the lagoon will be high enough to immediately become the main line of defence and also absorb wave energy.
“We expect that this will significantly reduce food risk to huge numbers of properties along the coastline. The proposed lagoon will be a great relief to those living in properties blighted by coastal flooding.”
The exact location of the lagoon has not been confirmed but it is proposed to extend for almost 32km, from the Great Orme to the Point of Ayr at Talacre, inland of the Gwynt y Mor windfarm. The section of coastline includes Towyn, which was hit by flooding in 1990 and Rhyl, which flooded most recently in 2013.
Dixon said: “The sea wall which would house the turbines and enclose the lagoon would have relatively little visual impact on a coast which already has the world’s fourth largest offshore windfarm, Gwynt y Mor.
“While much of the focus on tidal lagoons and other renewables sources is on the amount of energy they produce it is also likely to become increasingly important to have reliable local energy supplies that are secure and not dependent on imports from other parts of the world.”