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Private investors to revive Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

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Private investors are set to revive plans for a £1.3bn 320MW tidal lagoon power station in Swansea. 

Senior officials behind the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay project have confirmed that several “leading brands” are lined up to invest in the project. 

Developer Tidal Lagoon Power’s application for a government subsidy to fund the lagoon off the coast of Swansea was rejected by ministers last year.

But the scheme had already been awarded its development consent order when the plans were shelved, meaning the lagoon could be built with private investment. 

Tidal Lagoon Power business development manager Chris Nutt said the project had garnered interest from large companies.  

“We have a very active and accelerating pipeline of leading brands and high credit rated companies interested in securing our low carbon power to provide a hedge against future price escalation,” Nutt told New Civil Engineer.

“A new project like ours offers a genuinely source of clean energy and is a ground-breaking development for the economy in Wales and across the UK. Being part of this transition to a new low carbon economy and the creation of a new manufacturing industry for turbines and generators only adds to the appeal as businesses have the opportunity for brand affinity with what promises to be a world first.” 

The Guardian has reported that property company Land Securities, Cardiff Airport and developer Berkeley Group have all expressed an interest in purchasing low-carbon energy from the lagoon.  

Plans for the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay were rejected by ministers in the summer of 2018 after it was revealed that energy from the tidal system would be three times as expensive as that generated by the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.  

In June, business secretary Greg Clark confirmed that the government would not back the first-of-a-kind scheme despite several attempts to breathe life into the project, including a £200M offer from the Welsh Government. It took 18 months for the British Government to make its decision after then energy minister Charles Hendry said backing the project would be a “no-regrets policy” in January 2017. 

Nutt said that the recent developments in the nuclear sector, namely the cancelation of the NuGen and Horizon power plants had led to “a lot of interest” in the tidal project.  

“[Disruption to nuclear projects] is certainly creating interest for us, as well as causing the industry to question how the UK’s long-term energy strategy will develop.”  

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