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Welsh Government’s £750,000 tidal lagoon challenge winners announced

14 Mar 2024 3 minute read
North Wales Tidal Lagoon

The marine energy sector in Wales has moved on a step – following the announcement of three successful applicants for tidal lagoon technology research projects.

Climate Change Minister Julie James announced the successful applicants of the Welsh Government’s £750,000 Tidal Lagoon challenge on Thursday 14 March.

The challenge was announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford in March 2023 where he said the funding would be made available for at least three research projects working on tidal lagoon technology.

Lead organisations

The three successful lead organisations have been named as:

  • Swansea University in the Environment category
  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in the Engineering and Technical category
  • Cardiff University in the socio-economic and finance category

Speaking at the Marine Energy Wales conference, Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “We are a strong supporter of marine energy and the incredible opportunity presented by Wales’s coastline.”

Climate Change Minister Julie James announced the successful applicants of the Welsh Government’s £750,000 Tidal Lagoon challenge at the MEW conference

“Congratulations to each of these projects. I am excited how the research will help to move the tidal lagoon sector in Wales forward by developing the tidal lagoon schemes whilst also recognising the potential value of this work for other marine industries.”

Sea life protection

One of the winners, Swansea University project Director Dr David Clarke added: “This is great news, the funding will support migration studies looking at movements of acoustically tagged Atlantic salmon, sea trout and twaite shad, enabling us to understand the risks of marine renewables to these species.

“It will also enable us to develop and refine mitigation techniques – acoustic fish deterrence – to better protect these important natural assets.”

At the conference, the Minister also announced that up to £1m will be match funded by Milford Haven Port Authority for preparatory work to enable future floating offshore wind projects to deploy from Pembroke.

This builds on a similar match-funded grant made to Associated British Ports for early-stage work at Port Talbot announced in January 2023.

“Once in a lifetime opportunity”

Tom Sawyer, Chief Executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “This welcome investment support from Welsh Government will help the Port of Milford Haven in its mission to make sure Pembrokeshire remains in the driving seat of the energy transition.

“Knowing the type and extent of rock, gravel and silts here is vital if we are going to understand what will be involved in engineering the next evolution of Pembroke Port.

“Offshore renewable energy offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring sustainable economic growth and rewarding careers for our current and future generations.

“This early-stage, preparatory work is an important first step in realising our ambition to create a future energy ready port facility at Pembroke Port, helping our region get a head-start in the global race to host developers of floating offshore wind (FLOW) technology.

“We know FLOW developers will need extensive deep-water dockside facilities to support installation and maintenance of wind farms in the Celtic Sea. With additional investment in infrastructure, Pembroke Port would be the best equipped, deepest, most sheltered, and closest port for FLOW developers in the Celtic Sea.

“Combined with Pembrokeshire’s heavy engineering cluster, energy transmission and distribution in situ, and a growing globally renowned business cluster backed by R&D, there is massive potential for growth.”

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