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Welsh Government launches £750,000 tidal lagoon challenge

03 Jul 2023 4 minute read
Swansea bay tidal lagoon

The Welsh Government has officially launched its £750,000 challenge to researchers into the development of tidal lagoon technology.

First Minister Mark Drakeford originally announced funding for the challenge in March this year.

The money will be available to at least three research projects focusing on the deployment of the technology off the coastline of Wales.

The Welsh government will award the funds in three categories:

Environment

Engineering and technical

Finance and socio-economic.

Applications will be open until 18 September and the winners will be announced in spring 2024.

Efficient

A tidal lagoon is a power station that generates electricity from the natural rise and fall of the tides.

A large volume of water is captured behind a man-made structure which is then released to drive turbines and generate electricity.

Tidal lagoons are seen as a more efficient way of producing energy than current offshore wind farms and deliver energy from an entirely predictable source, unlike the wind.

The operating life of tidal lagoon projects has also been estimated to be about four times longer than offshore wind farms.

Launching the competition, Welsh minister for climate change Julie James said: “We know that the climate and nature emergencies are some of the most pressing issues we face. In light of these dual crises, it is imperative that we utilise all of our resources to reduce our energy consumption, but also to generate more clean energy.

“In Wales we are uniquely blessed with the second highest tidal range in the world, providing us opportunities to utilise the huge renewable energy resource on our coastline to help address the climate emergency.

“That is why, as part of our Programme for Government, we set out that we would hold a tidal lagoon challenge, as part of our commitment to make Wales a world centre for emerging tidal technologies.

“We believe the tidal lagoon challenge has an important role to play in realising the Welsh Government’s ambition for a tidal lagoon to be developed in Welsh waters. I am excited to see the bold ideas and thinking that applicants will share with us and look forward to the outcomes of the research.”

There are currently plans for three tidal lagoon projects in Wales.

The multi-billion-pound Blue Eden renewable energy project featuring a tidal lagoon is set to go ahead in Swansea and Conwy and Denbighshire councils have given official backing to a £7 billion tidal lagoon project off the Conwy and Denbighshire coast.

There are also plans for a tidal lagoon to be constructed adjacent to the Port of Mostyn in the Dee estuary.

Legal ruling

An earlier scheme for what would have been the UK’s first ever tidal energy lagoon in Swansea Bay failed to get off the ground.

The company behind the project lost its appeal against a legal ruling that it failed to commence work on the lagoon within five years of winning planning approval in December last year.

The decision means the development consent order (DCO) for the project is no longer valid.

Tidal Lagoon Power submitted its plans for the project, which would form a lagoon between the River Tawe and the River Neath in February 2014 and the project received its DCO in June 2015.

Ground investigation and survey works were undertaken by the developer in November 2016, but these were not considered as “material operations” so did not count as the project having commenced.

The project ran into financial problems the following year and despite the Welsh government’s willingness to pay £200M towards the scheme, the UK Government said the project was poor value for money and there would be no funds forthcoming.

Since the failure of that scheme, it has become even more difficult for potential developers to gain consent for new tidal range project.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
10 months ago

Since the failure of that scheme,” (which the Westminster government wanted to fail) “it has become even more difficult for potential developers to gain consent for new tidal range project.” (because Westminster is in pawn to energy companies and foreign interests).

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
10 months ago

Awful project, it would utterly destroy our beautiful bay FOREVER….for the benefit of a few, far-off fatcats.
Landlocked lagoons are old, outdated technologies. The Swansea Bay project would wipe 3 Sandy beaches instantly off the map (Aberafan beach, Jersey Marine Beach, Swansea Beach).

Let it go, please!!!!!!!!

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
10 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Dai Rob is spot on. In the rush to prove our green credentials, one of the loveliest bays in Europe will be destroyed.
Swansea Bay is often compared to Naples. Swansea is far the better.
May I repeat Dai’s final comment. A message to those who support this scheme. Stop trying to prove how green and environmentally aware you are because it’s the in thing to do – before getting into your car……
Your children will thank you.

Jeff335
Jeff335
10 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

No it wouldn’t as detailed planning showed when previously submitted.

Randy
Randy
5 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Just for the record it would also benefit the Swansea bay area hell of a lot by resolving the future tidal problems such as flooding and prevent sand from engulfing the promenade during bad storms

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
10 months ago

We need a proper road between North and South first. The A55 in North Wales as out of date after completion. Lack of roads and bad WiFi prevents industrial expansion and investment for proper jobs that pay more than £10.60 per hour. Electricity and gas prices are dictated bu shareholders and not the Senedd.

Mark Pickthall
Mark Pickthall
10 months ago
Reply to  Alun Gerrard

Rail not roads

Glen
Glen
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Pickthall

Why can’t we have both like any other developed country?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago
Reply to  Glen

Suggest Telford answer this one…

Gareth
Gareth
10 months ago

It was also interesting to hear the then energy secretary Greg Clark say, that although funding was refused for the Swansea project, due to cost, even though an independent review commissioned by the Gov,urged them to ” plough ahead” the UK Gov would not rule out funding the same technology, if a project was submitted. Again when it comes to Cymru the word “cost” just like in the railways, is the major decider in our future, where it does not seem like an issue for major project in England where upgrading infrastructure is seen as a necessary cost.

John Childs
John Childs
10 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

This is good news and offers encouragement to companies and researchers to speed up the an industry important to the future of Wales. However what does it tell us about the priorities of Welsh Government? £750,000 to tidal research £4 million to a unsustainable,”business as usual” glorified funfair ride run by oversea company Skyline who also has interests in casinos and online gambling. If you want to sent a message to WG sign our Senedd Petition today! https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/245439

Ben
Ben
10 months ago
Reply to  John Childs

Good point john

Last edited 10 months ago by Ben
John Childs
John Childs
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Have you got any more points

Nia James
Nia James
10 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Spot in Gareth. The Swansea Bay Lagoon ticked all the boxes for the UK Government except location. If it had been Humberside or Morecambe Bay it would have been built by now.

John Childs
John Childs
10 months ago
Reply to  Nia James

Yes Spot on Gareth regarding Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, So why is Welsh Government wasting £4 million on “Skyline” a glorified funfair ride? An unsustainable, “business as usual” so-called tourist attraction and only £750million on research to develop tidal lagoon project in Swansea? Have they the plot and lost interest interest in the “climate emergency” they declared a few year ago. If so, so have Swansea Council as they seem more than happy about the arrangement, Unbelievable! If you agree with us, please sign our Senedd Petition to help get everything back on course. Thank You. Stop Welsh Government Wasting… Read more »

Geraint
Geraint
10 months ago

We have had tidal energy schemes around our coast line for centuries producing reliable energy.
Probably the best example is to be found at Carew in south Pembrokeshire where the current flour mill was in operation for nearly 150 years with a causeway to hold the water back dating to 1630.
This is the oldest water mill in the country and I doubt anyone would claim it spoils the environment and no one would claim that it was not built to last.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
10 months ago

Can the writer please clarify. At the end of the second paragraph it is suggested that the Swansea scheme is to go ahead.
The next paragraph says not.

John Childs
John Childs
10 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Yes! It is called Blue Eden and it incorporates energy storage and a lot more. It is a much bigger investment than Skyline and requires no public money. I am puzzled why council leader Rob Stewart obsessed with “Skyline,” a marginal “business as usual” project which will have little impact on the future Swansea and could even tarnish it’s image as a serious,forward looking Green City. How he managed to con Welsh Government into wasting £4million to the over £8million he has already committed to this unsustainable folly, I am struggling to understand. Have they all forgotten they declared a… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

Every estuary could feature something of this nature, with slack water twice a day it still leaves 23 hours a day of generating time…disguise wind-turbines as wind-mills and nobody’s aesthetic sensibilities will be offended…

Last edited 10 months ago by Mab Meirion
Catrin
Catrin
10 months ago

Shame Cardiff Bay barrage isn’t generating any electricity.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
10 months ago
Reply to  Catrin

It doesn’t generate electricity because the purpose of the Cardiff Bay barrage is to prevent it being tidal. The barrage was built to impound the water and create a lake instead of what were regarded as ugly mudflats that were only good as an SSSI that was considered to frighten business interests away.

But yes, it is a shame that now it’s there it doesn’t generate power.

Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
10 months ago

Just copy the Chinese and get digging coal out again. They couldn’t care less about the environment and the ECO protesters never ever criticise them!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

China spent $546 billion on green energy in 2022, nearly 4x the USA…

Ian flannery
Ian flannery
10 months ago

The sandy beaches around Denbighshire will turn to horrible mud flats. Also, kiss goodbye to all the lugworm beds

Jeff335
Jeff335
10 months ago

Tories scuppered the Swansea tidal lagoon or we would have already been well in the way.

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