China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has been named as preferred bidder for the £300M Swansea Bay tidal lagoon power plant marine works contract.
The company, a subsidiary of global giant China Communications Construction Company, was selected by project promoter Tidal Lagoon Power for the deal.
Work will include construction of the 9.7km-long wall for the proposed lagoon.
Tidal Lagoon Power said the Chinese firm had committed to spending 50% of the contract value on British workers and suppliers.
The announcement also said that Tidal Lagoon Power and CHEC would sign a memorandum of understanding for the development of tidal lagoons in Asia, which could open a “major new export channel for British expertise and technology”.
CHEC president and chief executive Lin Yi Chong said: “CHEC has taken the strategic decision to enter the UK infrastructure investment and construction market.
“We see the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, a pioneering scheme that could bring the world a new energy option, as the cornerstone project in our business development strategy in the UK and wider Europe,” he said.
“We have not invested directly into the Swansea Bay project but we made a proposal to do so and will seek opportunities to invest in similar projects in the UK and Europe.
“We will seek to grow our UK presence through significant investment into a subsidiary business and through a programme of UK infrastructure investment and construction.”
In a separate development, project promoter Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay released a statement in response to fears from conservationists that a disused quarry in Cornwall could be turned into a”super quarry” to serve the lagoon project. There are concerns that it will damage a local marine conservation zone.
“Approximately 5M.t of rock will be used in the construction of the lagoon”, said the client body. “The responsibility to source this rock and transport it to Swansea Bay will sit with CHEC. No decisions have been taken on the source of rock supply.”
Meanwhile, Welsh civils firm Alun Griffiths was named as preferred bidder for ancillary civil engineering duties on the Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay scheme.
It will carry out breakwater, surface roads, slipway, utilities; and landscaping works on the public realm aspects of the £1bn renewable energy project. British contractor Laing O’Rourke is preferred bidder for the £200M contract to build the turbine house and sluice structure block.
The project requires planning permission and go-ahead will also depend on the outcome of electricity subsidy negotiations.
Swansea Tidal Lagoon