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It's off: £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon canned

Lagoon wall  Tidal Lagoon Power  3x2

After years of uncertainty, the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has finally been canned.

Business secretary Greg Clark confirmed that the government will not back the first-of-a-kind scheme despite recent attempts to breathe life into the project.

Clark said it would be “irresponsible” to back the pathfinder project and five further lagoons planned by developer Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) as they “do not meet the requirements for value for money”.

The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon would cost taxpayers significantly more than offshore wind and nuclear over the same 120 year lifecycle, according to the government’s analysis.

Clark told MPs: “The inescapable conclusion of an extended analysis is that however novel and appealing the proposal which has been made is, even with these factors taken into account the costs that would be incurred by consumers and taxpayers would be so much higher than alternative sources of low carbon power that it would be irresponsible to enter into a contract with the provider.”

Clark added that the civil engineering used for Swansea Bay “offers limited scope for innovation and capital cost reduction”. However, he said other tidal technology proposals had not been ruled out.

The decision comes despite last minute backing from a £15bn pension fund and the offer of an extra £200M from the Welsh government.

It took 18 months for the government to make its decision after ex-energy minister Charles Hendry said backing the project would be a “no-regrets policy” in January 2017.

Hendry had published his review into tidal lagoons, recommending the UK invest in the £1.3bn Swansea Bay pathfinder project and become a world leader in tidal energy.

Energy minister Claire Perry now faces a grilling from MPs on why the government took so long to come to a decision.

The Swansea Bay lagoon has had planning permission since 2015 and developers Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) had five more full-scale lagoons planned if Swansea Bay had been successful.

Cost for the taxpayer had been a key sticking point for government. Although the lagoon would have been producing free energy for the last 30 years of its 120 year lifecycle, initial costs would have been roughly £123/MWh.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The clock is ticking! No coal power, gas prices rising, wind power investment waning, Nuclear power looking very shaky. We are all being told to drive electric vehicles by our wise masters, where is all this electricity going to come from? The tooth fairy 🧚‍♀️. I despair with Goverment, all talk and no action, we have been talking about barrages in this country now for the last 40 Years, the costs have now gone ballistic, and so they can not afford the selling price/Kw, I am sure our friends in th rest of Europe will be salivating at the inter connector prices they will levy post Brexit!

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  • Impossible to justify the Swansea Bay scheme when the developers are demanding a guarantee that all the electricity produced by the scheme must be purchased for a price at least 50% more than the already eye-watering future cost of nuclear power.

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