Government to carry out feasibility and practicality review of tidal lagoon energy

The Government has announced an independent review into the feasibility and practicality of tidal lagoon energy in the UK.

It means that plans to generate energy from Swansea Bay lagoon face further delay.

Tidal lagoons have the potential to provide the country with clean and secure energy. Whilst progress has been made to understand this technology, more work needs to be done to determine whether they present value for money.

In recognition of this, the Government has commissioned a six-month review of the technology to improve its understanding of how tidal lagoons could contribute to the future of the UK’s energy mix in the most cost effective way.

The review will commence this spring and aims to establish an evidence base to ensure all decisions made regarding tidal lagoon energy are in the best interest of the UK.

It’s expected that Tidal Lagoon Power, the proposed developers of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and other industry stakeholders will take part in the review while discussions about Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon continue.

Energy Minister Lord Bourne said: ‘Tidal Lagoons on this scale are an exciting, but as yet an untested technology. I want to better understand whether tidal lagoons can be cost effective, and what their impact on bills will be – both today and in the longer term.

‘This review will help give us that clarity so we can determine what role tidal lagoons could have as part of our plans to provide secure, clean and affordable energy for families and businesses across the country.’

The review will consider:

  • An assessment of whether, and in what circumstances, tidal lagoons could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix
  • The potential scale of opportunity in the UK and internationally, including supply chain opportunities
  • A range of possible structures for financing tidal lagoons
  • Different sizes of projects as the first of a kind
  • Whether a competitive framework could be put in place for the delivery of tidal lagoon projects

Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay has welcomed the launch of a Government review into the potential for tidal lagoon energy across the UK – but expressed concern about delays to the scheme.

Mark Shorrock, chief executive, said: ‘The project planned for Swansea Bay is ready to go now. We have built a team, secured planning permission, secured equity sponsors, prepared a delivery team and a supply chain.  We have received overwhelming support for this project locally, nationally and internationally. If tidal lagoon power at scale is to be a real option for the longer term, we need to start work on Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon now. Otherwise the opportunity will be lost and the review will be all for nothing.’

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is regularly monitoring the developments in tidal energy technologies, as well as the seabed areas leased by The Crown Estate, and assessing their potential impact on recreational boating.

An RYA spokesman said: ‘Further information about the review will be set out shortly and we will keep members informed on progress.’