Tidal Power Ltd, the company behind the proposed scheme to create a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, Wales, says it is planning to go ahead with the £1.3 billion project but with private funding. The tidal project was refused government funding two years ago because it was said to be uneconomic, less economic than either offshore wind or new build nuclear power, according to government estimates, but now conditions have changed and it is expected that it could help fill the a gap in the UK\s energy demand created by suspension of work on the planned Wylfa and Oldbury nuclear power stations.
Tidal Power says the project could be up and running by 2025. A number of companies have expressed an interest in signing up to buy power from the scheme, including property groups Land Securities and Berkeley Group, along with Cardiff Airport.
Tidal Lagoon Power now wants to supply electricity directly to organisations and homes in Swansea via private cables to help make the £1.3 billion project commercially viable.
Mark Shorrock, the chief executive of Tidal Power, believes that this “private wire” approach would create a market for the electricity and also reduce the cost of that electricity because customers would not pay distribution and climate change levy costs, which form part of household bills.
The developers aim to improve the economics of the project by installing floating solar panels on the lagoon, increasing the amount of power it can generate by more than a third.
Ccompanies are becoming increasingly keen to procure renewable energy as they seek to become more sustainable and also to hedge against energy price volatility. Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently reported that corporate interests had signed contracts to buy 13.4 GW of clean power last year.