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Tidal Lagoons – The Answer To Cheap, Reliable & Renewable Energy?

Posted: 24/01/2017

The first lagoon power plant in the world could soon be in operation in Swansea Bay, if a new report commissioned by the government is put into action and state subsidies are provided for private firm Tidal Lagoon Power to fund the £1.3 billion scheme.

Conservative energy minister Charles Hendry authored the report, which was commissioned in 2016 to look into whether these lagoon systems would actually be value for money and how much electricity could be generated via this source here in the UK, the Independent reports.

The project would involve constructing a large U-shaped wall leading out into the bay, with turbines in the wall powered by the rise and fall of the tide, with electricity for over 150,000 houses provided for the next 120 years or so.

It was concluded that this kind of technology could be particularly cost-effective for electricity generation in the UK, as it would be cheaper than both offshore wind and nuclear energy over the first 60 years of its life.

Tidal Lagoon Power’s Mark Shorrock praised the report, calling it a “watershed moment” for energy, manufacturing, coastal communities and productivity in Britain.

“Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a vision of how Great Britain can replace part of our ageing power station fleet with low cost, reliable power that also revitalises our industrial heartlands and coastal communities.

“When we pay our electricity bills, we are mostly supporting other countries’ energy industries and other countries’ workers. It doesn’t have to be that way. Tidal lagoons will generate electrons that work for Britain and bring down bills,” he went on to say.

Mr Hendry made further comments, talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today show, and said that one of the main advantages of lagoon power is that it is entirely predictable, since we know when the spring and neap tides will be each day forever – so lagoons have an important role to play in terms of security of supply.

Similarly, we may well see wave farms thought the UK as a matter of course, with the first such site set to be constructed just off the Cornish coast with the aim of possibly harnessing wave power to provide 20 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.

A recent Daily Mail report revealed that the Ceto 6 device will be activated by 2018. If it’s successful, an additional 14 of these devices will be added two years down the line, all of which together will be able to power 6,000 homes every year. Australian company Carnegie Wave Energy has been granted £9,551,962 from the European Development Fund to pilot the first part of the plan at Wave Hub in Cornwall.

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