£1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project thrown out

The UK Government has rejected the £1.3bn tidal lagoon project in Swansea Bay, saying that it is too expensive when compared with alternatives such as offshore wind farms and nuclear power.The 320MW project was disallowed by the government, even after the developer Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) had submitted a revised offer.

UK Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that the project and proposed programme of lagoons do not meet the economic requirements and would therefore not be appropriate to lead TLP to believe that public funds can be justified.

The decision was criticised by RenewableUK, a trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries.RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “This decision is deeply disappointing and shows a lack of vision. Tidal lagoons have massive potential to meet our national energy needs and create jobs, as well as bringing industrial-scale economic benefits to the UK, including opportunities to export worldwide. The UK’s future energy mix will be powered by a range of low-carbon technologies. We know that with the right support, tidal energy can quickly become competitive on cost with other renewable and low carbon power like nuclear.”

RenewableUK also noted that the government’s decision goes against its own commissioned Hendry Review, which recommended that the UK should proceed with ‘a small-scale pathfinder project (under 500MW) as soon as is reasonably practicable’.

Responding to the announcement, Greenpeace UK senior campaigner Emma Gibson said: “A government that styles itself as an international leader in tackling climate change has just rejected the opportunity to become the international leader in developing tidal lagoons that produce clean energy day and night, and whose prices would have fallen after this first demonstration project.

“Instead, the government is preparing to throw billions of taxpayers’ hard earned cash at a nuclear industry that has been relying on handouts for 60 years, as its prices just keep spiralling and delivery is delayed year after year. Instead of supporting a potential success, the government has decided to continue propping up a failure.”