Dozens of firms throw hats in the ring for potential tidal lagoon competition
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Dozens of companies have thrown their hats in the ring for a potential competition to deliver a tidal lagoon, by the Welsh Government.
A total of 55 companies registered an interest in a Welsh Government marketing exercise to find what level of support there is for developing one off the Welsh coastline.
Previous attempts at developing a tidal lagoon projects in Wales have fallen through because of the UK Government refusing to provide financial support.
The Welsh Government said written submissions were received from 27 organisations, however, it is still early days, and officials don’t have a preferred location for a tidal lagoon at this stage.
No energy-generating lagoons have been built in Wales or the UK, but there are proposals to build ones in Swansea Bay and the Dee Estuary.
The marketing exercise was conducted between March and May this year to gauge interest in a potential competition to deliver a tidal lagoon, with the winner possibly receiving Welsh Government financial support.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it received a range of responses, from multi-nationals to small to medium-sized enterprises.
She said: “As well as several responses from existing tidal lagoon projects in Wales, we heard from academia, technology suppliers, engineering and environmental consultants and many others.”
Discussions are to be held with local authorities, Natural Resources Wales and environmental bodies, among others.
The Welsh Government spokeswoman added: “As well as financial, technical and planning/permitting issues, environmental and heritage issues will need careful consideration and balance with the renewable energy, socio-economic and supply chain benefits.
“The outcomes of this process will inform the production of options for ministers to consider.”
Last summer a company called Mostyn SeaPower Ltd unveiled proposals for a £590 million tidal lagoon in the Dee Estuary. It would comprise a 6.7km lagoon seawall and, according to the company, generate low-carbon electricity for 82,000 homes.
Seabed tests have been carried out, and the company – a subsidiary of the Port of Mostyn – is hopeful of applying for a development consent order by the end of 2022.
A Swansea Bay tidal lagoon cleared the development consent hurdle in 2015 but the project hasn’t materialised because of a lack of UK Government support needed to guarantee the project’s viability.
It was a £1.3 billion project put forward by a company called Tidal Lagoon Power comprising a 9.5km seawall and capable of powering 155,000 homes.
The development consent order lapsed a year ago but the concept has been revived and expanded by a Swansea Bay City Region task force to include up to 10,000 houses and a solar farm within the lagoon footprint.
Dubbed Dragon Energy Island, the infrastructure project was back in the news last November when Bridgend-based battery storage firm DST Innovations said it was putting together a consortium to deliver the project. There haven’t been further announcements since.
Speaking last month, David TC Davies, the under-Secretary of State for Wales, told a Welsh Affairs Committee hearing that he and Secretary of State Simon Hart had met Swansea Council representatives and discussed the Dragon Energy Island proposal.
Mr Davies said “the scheme put forward is one of great interest”.