TURNING THE TIDE ON EXPENSIVE ELECTRICITY; A PS1bn Tidal Lagoon off the South Wales Coast Could Supply Cheap, Renewable Energy to Hundreds of Thousands of Homes in the City
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A PS1BN tidal lagoon off the Cardiff coast could supply cheap power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the capital, if early plans progress.
Cardiff council has met with a renewable energy company planning to pioneer an electricity-generating PS550m tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay.
In that scheme, the turbines would generate enough electricity 16 hours a day from ebb and flood tides to power 107,000 homes - equivalent to Swansea's annual domestic electricity use.
Cardiff councillor Ashley Govier, cabinet member for environment, said the potential off the coast of the capital was even greater and he was keen for its feasibility to be explored.
It is understood the scheme could be double the size of Swansea's tidal lagoon and stretch from Cardiff Bay Barrage towards Newport.
The idea could take a step forward in the New Year if, as expected, the Cardiff coastline is included in the next round of licensing by the Crown Estate.
Councillor Govier said: "We are coming to the point where we really need to focus on our sustainable energy in Cardiff, not just because of the prices but because the UK Government is encouraging cities to expand the (power) grid.
"I've tasked officers with finding out what is out there and what is achievable - it's about ensuring the future of Cardiff.
"In the Severn, we have got the second highest tidal range in the world and there is enormous potential.
We are on the seafront so it's clearly something that we need to capitalise on."
Coun Govier said he was exploring renewable energy schemes that will reduce Cardiff's reliance on fossil fuels, and also help drive down energy prices through green tariffs.
"We must help the people of Cardiff with their energy prices," he said.
A tidal lagoon is a man-made sea wall structure impounding an area of water on the rise and fall of each tide.
In Swansea, it is proposed to build a 9.5km (five miles) long wall, which will essentially be in a semi-circular shape stretching out from the port.
Tidal Lagoon Power Limited confirmed the conversations with Cardiff council, but stressed formal talks had yet to begin and the concept was still in its early stages.
Mark Shorrock, the firm's chief executive, said: "We believe that tidal lagoons should form a significant part of our future energy mix and can help us achieve greater security of supply while reducing the cost of electricity to consumers.
"Our proposed project in Swansea will be a flagship for the UK and Wales, generating cost effective, predictable and fully renewable power from the tidal range in Welsh waters.
"We therefore welcome any support for the development of further tidal lagoons as part of Wales' energy mix."
Mr Shorrock said tidal lagoon developments provided a low risk, low cost renewable energy source. …