The drive to create a network of tidal energy power stations across the UK and abroad has been boosted by £10M-plus from the Indian family behind energy giant Simec.
The Gupta family pledged “an eight-figure investment” in a holding company that was established by renewables developer Tidal Lagoon Power.
Tidal Lagoon Power’s pioneering 240MW Swansea Bay tidal project (pictured) received planning consent from the Department for Energy and Climate Change last summer, with main civil works expected to start this year.
The power firm is working towards submitting planning applications for larger schemes in Cardiff and Newport in 2017 and 2018 respectively. These two schemes would have a combined cost in the region of £10bn. Simec owns land on the Severn Estuary at Newport that could be used for a tidal lagoon.
Simec has also created a joint venture with Tidal Lagoon Power to develop large scale power lagoons in India. The Gujurat government has expressed interest in tidal lagoons, and is to invite feasibility studies in the Gulf of Khambhat.
A Tidal Lagoon Power spokeswoman said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in our proof-of-concept project in Swansea.
“It allows us to get on with the development of the Cardiff and Newport projects, to continue with modelling and survey work as we lead up to our planning applications.
“It also represents a huge opportunity for the supply chain in Wales and the wider UK to export their skills to tidal lagoon projects in India.”
Simec energy and mining chief executive Jay Hambro said: “The scope presented by tidal lagoons for economic growth and job creation in Wales and the UK is clear, and, in partnership with Tidal Lagoon Power, we are also talking to authorities in India about exporting tidal power technology from the UK to develop projects there.”
Tidal Lagoon Power executive director Andrew Manley said: “Just like the Severn Estuary and Liverpool Bay here in the UK, the Gulf of Khambhat holds vast potential for the generation of power from tidal lagoons.
“We’re looking forward to working with Simec to better understand the natural resource in Gujarat and shape our commercial plans accordingly. Back in the UK, we welcome the Gupta family to our investor base at an extremely exciting time for the sector.”
Family representative Sanjeev Gupta said: “We are very pleased to invest in this ambitious and innovative enterprise that promises to provide low-carbon, base-load energy and drive economic renewal through the development of a high-value supply chain that will create thousands of new jobs.
“As a group we are expanding internationally on several fronts and renewable energy is right at the heart of that expansion.”
Laing O’Rourke was last year named as preferred bidder for the contract to build the turbine house and sluice structure block for the £1bn Swansea Bay project.