The British government has rejected the possibility of awarding a major lagoon tidal energy scheme in Wales because it does not “meet the requirements for value for money”.

The £1.3 billion, 320 MW Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project is one of six tidal projects proposed for construction in the UK by Tidal Lagoon Power. The developer had asked the government for a contracts for difference (CFD) contract to support the project, the future of which is now unclear.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said that after extensive analysis, energy from the Swansea tidal lagoon would cost taxpayers considerably more than other technologies such as offshore wind, even when the economic benefits of the project were taken into account.

“Securing our energy needs into the future has to be done seriously and, when much cheaper alternatives exist, no individual project, and no particular technology, can proceed at any price. That is true for all technologies,” said Clark.

The decision has been criticised by renewable energy groups as well as Welsh businesses and politicians. The Welsh government had pledged £200 million of support for the Swansea scheme.

Tidal Lagoon Power said that the government’s analysis was wrong, and failed to account for the fact that Swansea would be a “pathfinder” project that would help establish a new industry in the UK.

Emma Gibson, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “A government that styles itself as an international leader in tackling climate change has just rejected the opportunity to become the international leader in developing tidal lagoons that produce clean energy day and night, and whose prices would have fallen after this first demonstration project.”

The decision comes 18 months after the conclusion of a review into tidal lagoon energy conducted by former energy minister Charles Hendry.

The Hendry review concluded that tidal lagoons would help to deliver security of supply and could play a cost-effective role in the UK’s energy mix.