PS550m Proposals to Help Wales Harness Power of Tides; TURBINES TO SUPPLY CHEAP ENERGY TO 107,000 HOMES

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

PS550m Proposals to Help Wales Harness Power of Tides; TURBINES TO SUPPLY CHEAP ENERGY TO 107,000 HOMES


Byline: PETER LAW peter.law@walesonline.co.uk

A SECOND major tidal lagoon could be built off the coast of South Wales if early talks progress.

Tidal Lagoon Power Limited has already submitted plans for a PS550m scheme in Swansea Bay which would see turbines generate enough electricity 16 hours a day from ebb and flood tides to power 107,000 homes.

Now it has emerged that the firm has also held talks with Cardiff council relating to a PS1bn tidal lagoon off the city's coast.

That would also supply cheap power to hundreds of thousands of homes in the capital. Both schemes are in their early stages, though Tidal Lagoon Power says if it wins government approval for the Swansea scheme it could be connected to the National Grid by 2017.

Cardiff council officials recently met with the renewable energy company.

Councillor Ashley Govier said the potential off the coast of the capital was even greater and he was keen for its feasibility to be explored.

It's 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.

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's proposed to build a 9.5km (five-miles) long wall, which will essentially be in a semi-circular shape stretching out from the port.

There are also separate plans for a multi-billion-pound barrage across the Severn Estuary being considered by the UK Government.

The scheme, which would generate around 5% of the UK's electricity needs, has been submitted by a consortium called Corlan Hafren to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

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 provide a low-risk, low-cost renewable energy source.

"They hold the potential to harness significant power from a natural resource widely available from an island nation and in close proximity to population centres for low loss distribution," he said.

"This renewable energy source is also able to be plugged into the national grid without requirement for additional balancing fossil fuel driven capacity."

It comes after a UK Government report showed Cardiff had the highest combined gas and electricity bills in the UK.

According to the Department for Energy and Climate Change's Quarterly Energy Prices Report, the average annual combined bill in Cardiff was PS1,308, compared to the UK average of PS1,276. …

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