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Task force for £8bn Cardiff tidal lagoon

Cardiff lagoon

Councillors in Cardiff are today (21 November) expected to approve plans for a task force to gather expert advice on plans for an £8bn tidal lagoon in Cardiff Bay.

The City of Cardiff Council’s cabinet will review a report that recommends that a scrutiny task and finish group is established to gather independent advice on the opportunities and issues the lagoon brings to the city.

The lagoon would be the first full-scale lagoon for developer Tidal Lagoon Power, which is also developing the smaller Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. The lagoon in Cardiff would hold 11 times the volume of water compared to the proposed Swansea lagoon.

The plans for the lagoon between Cardiff and Newport will see a potential installed capacity of around 3GW and a potential annual power output of around 5.5TWh.

Plans began in 2013, but a formal application for a Development Consent Order is expected to be made in 2018. The project could create more than 3,000 construction jobs. The final decision rests with central government – Cardiff City Council does not have a decision-making role.

The discussion in Wales comes as the industry awaits the findings of the government-commissioned Hendry Review into the case for tidal lagoons, which was expected this autumn. A spokesperson for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said the findings could be published “within the next few months”.

“A tidal lagoon for Cardiff Bay would see the construction of a seawall, some 22km in length, enclosing an area of some 70km2. It would hold 11 times the volume of water that the proposed Swansea lagoon would contain,” said Cardiff City Council leader Phil Bale.

“This is potentially an engineering and energy project of global significance, yet there is limited independent information about its feasibility or practicality. Right now there has been no detailed independent, expert analysis or critical scrutiny of the Cardiff project, which is of an entirely different scale to the Swansea Bay scheme.

“Clearly the Hendry Review will give an independent opinion, but this is likely to be a high-level analysis of the lagoon concept rather than a detailed critique of the Cardiff project.

“It’s important the City Council does what it can to ensure the potential issues and opportunities are fully understood. We have time now to gather up independent evidence so we can have an informed view on tidal lagoons and the effect one this size could have on Cardiff and the surrounding area.”

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