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Details of £1.7 billion Tidal tech scheme announced for Swansea docks

25 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
Blue Eden layout at Swansea docks and Swansea Bay. Image by DST .

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Details of a £1.7 billion energy, technology and residential development at Swansea docks have been unveiled.

The Blue Eden project will include battery manufacturing and storage, a solar farm, data centre, houses, flats, oceanic and climate change research centre, and tidal energy lagoon.

It is expected to take 12 years to deliver in full, create 2,500 permanent jobs, and will require planning permission among other consents.

Blue Eden is being led by Bridgend-based firm DST Innovations and is not expected to require any public subsidy.

Tony Miles, co-founder and chief executive of DST Innovations, said: “Blue Eden is an opportunity to create a template for the world to follow – utilising renewable energy and maximising new technologies and thinking to develop not only a place to live and work, but also to thrive.”

He added: “I am extremely dedicated to this project in every which way you can imagine.”

The entrepreneur said he had a “fantastic team” and that expertise was being drawn in from around the world.

Blue Eden will also comprise an oceanic and climate change research centre. Iimage by DST inspired by Octatube.

DST Innovations is in discussions with the owners of Swansea docks, Associated British Ports (ABP), about the project.

Blue Eden will be delivered on land and water south of the Prince of Wales dock, in three phases.

– Phase one (five years): battery manufacturing facility, battery storage facility to store the renewable energy produced on site, floating solar farm in the Queen’s dock, data storage centre.

– Phase two (two years): oceanic and climate change research centre, three visitor domes.

– Phase three (five years): waterfront houses and flats for up to 5,000 people, commercial space, 144 floating homes anchored in Queen’s dock, tidal energy lagoon generating electricity via turbines at the far end of a 9.5km seawall.

Just over 1,000 people will work at the battery manufacturing facility, with a further 1,500 at the data centre.

There will also be construction jobs and an estimated 16,000 supply chain jobs in Wales and the UK.

The residential element will include affordable housing and assisted living for people who needed a bit of help to remain independent.

Every property will have up to 20 years of renewable energy and heat provision included with the sale.

If all went to plan, and subject to the necessary consents, work could start on site early in 2023.

In the future there is the potential for the solar farm at Blue Eden to be expanded, and wind turbines and hydrogen production to be added.

The project draws ideas from the Dragon Energy Island concept – featuring a lagoon, solar farm and houses – which was developed by a regional task force led by Swansea Council.

Ground-breaking

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “I’m delighted that an international consortium led by a Welsh company has developed our Dragon Energy Island vision into a ground-breaking project that delivers so many benefits and builds on the council’s ambition to become a net zero city by 2050.

“Blue Eden will put Swansea and Wales at the cutting-edge of global renewable energy innovation, helping create thousands of well-paid jobs, significantly cut our carbon footprint and further raise Swansea’s profile across the world as a place to invest.”

Andrew Harston, a director at ABP, confirmed the company was in discussions about the project.

“This innovative prototype has the potential to be a first for the UK and bring Britain closer to our net zero target,” he said.

Julie James, MS for Swansea West, said: “It’s so exciting to see this Swansea-based project moving forward at such an important time for Wales and the world.”

Tidal and hydropower organisations have also welcomed Blue Eden. Harnessing the power of the tides in the UK could, say tidal energy backers, generate five to 10% of the UK’s electricity needs.

Opposition leader in Swansea, Cllr Chris Holley, said the project sounded excellent.

“The battery facility is wonderful news,” he said. “It’s something that’s desperately needed in Wales and the UK and it’s marvellous it’s coming to Swansea.”

A £1.3 billion tidal energy lagoon looked on the cards for Swansea after it was given planning consent in 2015, but it has not materialised.

The Welsh Government and Swansea Council say the planning permission, called a development consent order, has expired.

However, the company behind it, Tidal Power plc, is seeking a court ruling to say that it satisfied the consent order and therefore has permission in perpetuity.

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Llwynog Abertawe
Llwynog Abertawe
1 month ago

In my primary school, we learned a lot about this ‘tidal lagoon’ project; I was marvelled by the idea of this huge renewable energy project, which would also boost our economy and bring energy to the city without much need for non renewable sources. And…the plan was cancelled, it seemed. It couldn’t get the required funding, the Welsh Government wasn’t able to provide funding for the innovative plan – when they asked the UK Government, they declined. Now we have a £100m investment into a new virtual stadium, shopping mall…all rather nice, but this tidal lagoon would have been far… Read more »

Commonsense100
Commonsense100
1 month ago

For heaven’s sake, do some simple due diligence to see if there’s anything or anyone of substance behind this proposal. Anything….!

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Commonsense100

A quick look at Companies House shows the company has been in existence for 10 years and has intangible assets of some £5M. Not enough to take these proposals forward and quite a change for a company thats principal activity was “the research and development of printed electronic circuitry on plastic and flexible substrates to create modular light weight digital displays and lighting. In addition the company is developing technology to create longer life and faster charging storage devices” in 2017. The question must be does such a company have access to funding partners to take this proposal forward?

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

There appears to be an agreement with West Virgina for a pilot manufacturing facility, anyone know how that is proceeding? https://governor.wv.gov/News/press-releases/2020/Pages/Gov.-Justice-Agreement-between-UK-company-DST-and-Blue-Rock-Manufacturing-to-bring-new-facility-up-to-1,000-new-jobs-to-WV.aspx

Paul12345
Paul12345
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

I was excited by the previous version of Swansea tidal energy until it kept reappearing in private eye.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
1 month ago

Great news about time, doing something that is going to benefit Wales from our nation’s resources not raping us for a change

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Still early days but this is good news and is another example of what we can do – without any influence from Westminster. Eventually, we will generate our own money and through continual cooperation with private business aim to make all our energy green. This will is an example of what we can achieve as an independent nation.

David Thomas
David Thomas
1 month ago

No doubt the Chinese will be involved somehow, bad news for Britain.

Benks
Benks
1 month ago

No problem, but make sure it belongs to Cymru!!! No Westminster involvement !!

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