The £1bn, 240MW Swansea tidal lagoon project today received planning consent from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc), paving the way for the project to get under way in earnest next spring.
Today’s consent order is Decc’s first rubber stamp on the scheme after the Planning Inspectorate recommended its departmental approval on 9 March. However, the final go ahead will be determined by Contract for Difference (CfD) negotiations between the project promoter Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay and Decc, as well as state aid approval.
“We need more clean and home-grown sources of energy, which will help to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels,” said energy and climate change and Wales Office minister Lord Bourne. “Low carbon energy projects like the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay could bring investment, support local jobs and help contribute to the Welsh economy and Swansea area.”
If built, turbines in the almost 10km long horseshoe shaped sea wall around Swansea Bay in Wales could generate around 500GWh per year of low carbon electricity.
“Wales led the way providing the fuel for the industrial revolution,” said Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay chief executive Mark Shorrock following the consent order. “We are now entering the era of the climate change revolution - de-carbonising our world in time to avoid two degrees of global warming - Wales can now lead this next revolution.”
Shorrock added that the scheme had the potential to alter the outlook for green energy in the UK and stressed that the project could play a vital role in helping meet proposed targets to cut carbon.
“In the run up to the Paris talks on a global climate change deal, a deal to steer global emissions from 50bn.t CO2 equivalent down to 40bn.t CO2 equivalent by 2030 and 20bn.t by 2050, the UK and especially Wales has opened a new door to help answer the greatest challenge of our age.
“With the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon becoming a reality, locking in 120 year life, zero carbon energy infrastructure, we have the potential to help transform our industrial economy and the UK’s energy mix.
“We see it as a game-changer, a scalable blueprint, paving the way for a fleet of lagoons that can work in harmony with nature to help secure the nation’s electricity for generations to come. The tidal lagoons that follow – at Cardiff, at Newport, elsewhere in the UK and overseas – must each make their own compelling social, environmental and economic case to proceed. But they have a pilot project to guide them and a blossoming technical and industrial network to support them.”
The project promoter last month named Laing O’Rourke as preferred bidder for a £200M contract to deliver the turbine house and sluice structure for the project and last week added China Harbour Engineering Company as preferred bidder for a £300M marine works contract. Atkins is client engineer.
“We now have some further permissions to secure and must successfully conclude CfD negotiations on our way to financial close, but the vision is now closer to reality than ever before and our delivery team is readying itself to start on site and start delivering for Swansea Bay next spring,” said Shorrock.
CfD negotiations began in March led by the previous government. However, that process along with the approval for State aid has proved challenging for recent test case, the new nuclear mega-project Hinkley Point C.