Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 131

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
said: “We urgently need to upgrade our energy
infrastructure, we need to capture greater value
from green investments, and we need to
rebalance our economy away from the
Southeast. This report paints a compelling
picture for the potential contribution of tidal
lagoon infrastructure in each of these areas. We
have the resource and we have the industry.”
The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is symbolic of
the UK’s pioneering innovation and research
efforts. This major power plant has significant
potential to provide long term, renewable
electricity to a significant proportion of the
country’s population, as well as assisting in
meeting growing energy needs. Yet beyond
Swansea there are significant opportunities to
realise further benefits from tidal lagoons
across the UK, along with scope to bring
significant benefits to industry and the
economy. With talks now underway regarding
subsidy, this major infrastructure project is
already creating waves.
T
he waters of a Welsh city are the anticipated location of the
world’s first tidal lagoon power plant. The £1bn (~€1.4bn)
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, expected to become one of the
Earth’s largest tidal power stations, will see the construction of a 9.5km
long sea wall built to capture renewable energy from incoming and
outgoing tides; it is expected to power over 120,000 homes for 120
years. Together with five other tidal lagoons located across the UK, the
sea energy fleet is expected to supply 8% of the country’s electricity.
Both UK and other European partners are involved in the project.
In February 2014, Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd (TLP) submitted a key planning
application. TLP chief executive Mark Shorrock commented: “The UK has
the second highest tidal range in the world, and today we are submitting
an application for a development that will prove that this resource can
be harnessed in a way that makes economic, environmental and social
sense. Tidal lagoons offer renewable energy at nuclear scale and thus
the investment of hundreds of millions of pounds in UK industries and
coastal communities.”
During his 2015 Budget speech in March, UK Finance Minister George
Osborne announced that the government was “opening negotiations on
the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon”, with talks centring on the amount of
subsidy it will obtain from a guaranteed price for its power.
Further waves
In July last year, the results of a study were published on the impact of
a national rollout of tidal lagoon power plants in the UK. The report,
entitled ‘The Economic Case for a Tidal Lagoon Industry in the UK’ and
conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found
that a £35.3bn investment to create a fleet of six tidal lagoons would
lead to ‘a cumulative contribution to UK GDP of £27bn’ over a 12-year
period from 2015. In addition, around 36,000 jobs would be supported
each year in the UK. Three lagoons are proposed for the Severn Estuary,
as well as one in north Wales and one in northwest England.
The report concludes that there are also wide-ranging benefits for UK
industry. Many of the components of the tidal lagoon projects can be
sourced nationally, and consequently, according to the report, this
represents one of the best returns in terms of GDP impact per pound
invested compared to other energy investments. Furthermore, there is
likely to be ‘significant opportunity’ for UK businesses that help deliver
and operate the power plants in ‘serving international tidal lagoon
projects’. The annual tidal lagoon export market could be worth as much
as £3.7bn per year, or an accumulated total of £70bn between 2030
and 2050.
Commenting on the report, John Cridland, the now outgoing director-
general of UK business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry,
Making waves
As negotiations start regarding subsidy,
Portal
investigates Swansea Bay Tidal
Lagoon, one of the world’s largest tidal power stations
B R OW S E
H O R I Z O N
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