Swansea Bay tidal lagoon is set to go ahead after a government report recommended the technology plays a role in the UK’s energy mix. The review, led by former energy minister Charles Hendry, comes over a year after plans for the Swansea demonstrator project were put on hold. It advocates the formation of a new Tidal Power Authority to oversee the tender process for large-scale tidal lagoons and maximise the benefit to the UK. Hendry also recommends that a pathfinder project be undertaken before moving to larger lagoons.
‘’I believe that the evidence is clear that tidal lagoons can play a cost effective role in the UK’s energy mix and there is considerable value in a small (less than 500MW) pathfinder project,” Hendry said in statement. ‘’I conclude that tidal lagoons would help deliver security of supply; they would assist in delivering our decarbonisation commitments; and they would bring real and substantial opportunities for the UK supply chain.”
The 16 turbines that will harness the tide in Swansea are 7.5m in diameter and 76m in length. Built by General Electric and Andritz Hydro, their combined output will be 320MW of electrical power. The technology is designed to last, with the aforementioned plant life expectancy of 120 years, and no major refurbishments anticipated for the first 50 years of operation.
Atlantis has received €20.3 million (£17.5 million) in Horizon 2020 grant funding from the European Commission for the Demotide project, which will design, build and operate a 6MW turbine array, MeyGen Phase IB, in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth in northern Scotland.
MeyGen Phase 1B, also known as Project Stroma, will commence construction in 2017 and first power is expected in 2018. It will be built adjacent to the existing 6MW MeyGen Phase 1A project, which delivered first power to the grid in November last year. Together, Phases 1A and IB complete the foundation for full scale build out at the site, which has an awarded seabed lease for almost 400MW of Installed capacity.
The Demotide project will demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of drilled foundation systems and larger rotor diameter turbines, and aims to further de-risk the industry and provide “a robust path to significant cost reduction In the European tidal power sector”.